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Spirits maker releasing whiskey

November 30, 2017
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Gray Skies Distillery Breakfast Rye whiskey
Gray Skies Distillery's Breakfast Rye whiskey is 43.5 percent alcohol by volume. Photo via fb.com

A Grand Rapids spirits maker is set to release a new whiskey.

Gray Skies Distillery said this week it will release its Breakfast Rye whiskey the week of Dec. 3.

The whiskey will be available to buy in Gray Skies’ tasting room and through hundreds of licensed retailers, bars and restaurants around Michigan via statewide distribution.

Breakfast Rye was created in collaboration with Grand Rapids-based BLiS Gourmet, who provided the maple syrup casks used to finish the whiskey.

BLiS Gourmet makes bourbon-barrel maple syrup by aging raw Michigan maple syrup in Kentucky bourbon barrels. After BLiS emptied the maple syrup, Gray Skies Distillery filled the barrels with rye whiskey to impart the maple character responsible for name Breakfast Rye.

“Breakfast Rye was named after someone remarked, ‘It smells like breakfast,’ while trying a sample,” said Steve Vander Pol, co-owner, Gray Skies Distillery. “The abundance of rye produces a spicy whiskey.”

The Breakfast Rye whiskey was initially aged in charred new, oak barrels then finished for six months in maple syrup casks — leaving a “subtle, sweet finish” to the otherwise spicy rye spirit.

Following their Utility Vodka, Barrel Finished Gin and Spiced Rum, Breakfast Rye is the fourth spirit Gray Skies Distillery has released for distribution.

Vander Pol said the company prefers to wait years for their whiskies to mature before release.

Gray Skies Distillery’s Michigan Straight Bourbon and Michigan Straight Rye are both slated for release in 2018.

The company was named Michigan Distillery of the Year in 2016 at the seventh-annual New York International Spirits Competition on the strength of its gold medal-winning Barrel Finished Gin. 

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