Member Spotlight: Long Road Distillers

Take no shortcuts. This is a philosophy that honors the craft of everything Long Road Distillers creates. Their name encapsulates the very core of how they conduct business, which is to take the “long road,” to not cut corners, and to do things the right way. Recognized as the first distiller in Beer City, USA they place a high value on creating spirits from the raw material that the state of Michigan offers; and their Gin is no exception.

Made entirely from honest ingredients grown across the region, Long Road’s “Michigin” was voted World’s Best Gin by The Fifty Best, along with multiple other well-deserved awards. But earning these titles was no small feat.

To truly understand the novelty of Long Road’s gin, we must first understand the inception of its idea. It is widely known that juniper is a non-negotiable ingredient in the recipe for gin. The aroma and taste of juniper is what gives gin its signature flavor. But traditionally, juniper berries are not commercially grown in Michigan. This posed an obstacle for Long Road Distillers to honor their principle of sourcing only Michigan grown ingredients.

Some may call this fate, but while camping with his family one weekend, co-owner Kyle Van Strien learned that juniper berries grow all over Beaver Island, the largest island in Lake Michigan. With no hesitation, Kyle and co-owner Jon O’Connor rallied their team together and set out on an adventure to harvest what soon became Michigin’s core component. By the end of their trip, the Long Road team had filled every bag they brought with them.

Unlike other gins, Michigin has a sense of place. It has a sense of dedication. The trip to Beaver Island not only provided Long Road with the opportunity to pick their own ingredients by hand, but it also served as a strong team building experience. This trip has since become a tradition at Long Road and is carried out throughout the year. The staff at Long Road is 100% committed to the idea of crafting world class spirits from local ingredients. Their commitment is especially evident in the tireless work it takes to find and acquire juniper from this specific location. You can’t fake tenacity like that!

Juniper berries can taste wildly different depending on the location it is sourced from. The juniper from Beaver Island offers a flavor that highlights the western shore of Michigan. You can expect their juniper to have a refreshing taste with bright vegetal flavors and notes of cedar.

The flavor profile this team has created for its Michigin is second to none. Led by juniper, the taste transitions into subtle citrus with sweet lemon and vanilla notes. Citrus and mint, then offer a crisp finish to this refreshing beverage.

Long Road Distillers strives to always be the best. It is important to them that what they make is truly indicative of who they are. So when it comes to spending money at Long Road, know that the drinks are as authentic as the ingredients and the people behind them. Every distillery chooses a different path, and this distillery chose to take the long one. “While you may not see the difference, you will definitely taste it.” Visit any of their three locations in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, or Boyne City, and experience the difference yourself!