Food Service & Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Retail

Craft spirits maker opens downtown

March 16, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Gray Skies Distillery Irish flag drinks
Gray Skies Distillery in downtown Grand Rapids will feature green, white and orange cocktails for its grand opening on St. Patrick's Day. Photo via

The city’s second distillery is set to open downtown tomorrow.

Opening-day cocktails

Gray Skies Distillery will host its grand opening in Grand Rapids, at 700 Ottawa Ave. NW, to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

To celebrate the day, Gray Skies will offer three special cocktails resembling the green, white and orange of the Irish flag, including its Chief Noonday, Rowster Russian and Bishop Baraga.

Chief Noonday is a green cocktail made with vodka, cucumber, cilantro, lime and jalapeno.

Rowster Russian is the distillery’s take on a White Russian, made with vodka, a coffee liqueur made with Rowster coffee beans and optional cream. It’s white.

The Bishop Baraga is made with barrel-finished hopped gin, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and thyme-simple syrup. It comes in an orange-ish color.

Full opening

Gray Skies opens for normal hours — 4-11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday — on Friday, with a rollout of its normal assortment of spirits and cocktail menu.

The company has vodka and gin bottled for its opening and will also produce bourbon and rye whiskey at its 10,000-square-foot location.

Gray Skies Distillery is a partnership between long-time friends Brandon Voorhees and Steve Vander Pol.

“We think there is a community here that will be really excited about this,” Voorhees told the Business Journal last May. “It seems like other people agree with us, and right now in this industry, the more players in this area, the better chances of raising the awareness, helping people understand that there’s a better local product out there.”

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