Member Spotlight: Eastern Kille Distillery

In August, Eastern Kille Distillery began running socially distanced cocktail classes. To help boost the spirits of the community, bartenders and spirit leaders have led the classes teaching the participants how to create their own cocktails. And yes, they were able to drink the final products. The past few classes have been summer inspired cocktail classes, in which the participants were taught how to make different summer related cocktails in the Eastern Kille Distillery’s tasting room, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is the distillery’s plan to continue to run themed socially distanced cocktail classes, as the community has taken a great interest in attending them. 

The distillery began around four and a half years ago. As of 2020, they renamed themselves as Eastern Kille Distillery. “Kille” is a Middle Dutch word that is defined as riverbank. The distillery is located just east of the Grand River, hence the name of “Eastern Kille”. On top of that, all the spirits crafted in Eastern Kille are made with water from the Great Lakes.

Eastern Kille Distillery handcrafts all of their spirit products. In other words, nothing is sourced from outside companies. The distillery is proud to announce that they have been aging a bottled in bond whiskey for the past few years and will be releasing it relatively soon. In order for a spirit to qualify as bottled in bond, the craft spirit must be aged for a minimum of four years and bottled at precisely 100 proof (50% abv). In addition, it must be made at a single distillery, by one distiller, in one season, then aged in a bonded warehouse (Dingwall, 2019).

An extremely popular craft spirit that Eastern Kille Distillery produces is their Barrel Finished Gin. The gin highlights citra hops in the botanical recipe to augment the citrus elements of gin, with a subtle note of grapefruit. Then the barrel finish rounds this gin off with a surprising oak note. In addition, Eastern Kille Distillery crafts a Bottled in Bond Bourbon which is estimated to return this fall and will join a statewide distribution in summer 2021.

Similarly, to other distilleries, Eastern Kille Distillery had to temporarily shut down their tasting room due to COVID-19. The distillery was fortunate enough to have the number one ingredient for hand sanitizer, which helped them to create hand sanitizer for the next few months. The team was able to come together and create a system that effectively produced these products for the community. In terms of their craft spirits, Eastern Kille Distillery began selling cocktails to-go for their customer base. In addition, the distillery created a small patio for outdoor seating, which includes live music.

The combination of socially distanced cocktail classes and craft spirits made from locally sourced ingredients, is a huge reason why taking a trip to Eastern Kille Distillery is a great idea. Surround yourself with good spirits.