Traverse City Food & Wine: Grand Traverse Distillery has added another accolade to its impressive award-wining portfolio with the recent “Best of Category – Gold Medal” honor in the Aged Rye Whiskey category for “Ole George”. The award was presented in early April in Colorado by the American Distilling Institute at its 7th Annual Judging of Artisan American Spirits. The Traverse City-based distillery has won awards for its various vodka brands – this is its first award in the whiskey category.
“We are honored to be recognized for our aged rye whiskey by such an esteemed organization,” says Grand Traverse Distillery Owner Kent Rabish. “Michigan as a whole was represented on several levels at the competition, which reinforces our growing industry’s overall goal of producing quality craft beverages.”
“Ole George” Whiskey is distilled in a traditional fashion from a 100% rye mash bill and is bottled at 93 proof. Prior to prohibition, Americans drank rye whiskey – with its unique character that no other grain can provide, as the rye imparts a spicy flavor. “Ole George” Whiskey is made in small batches and is double-distilled in Grand Traverse Distillery’s copper pot still. It bottled straight from the barrel and is not chill-filtered, which can remove flavor from the whiskey. The goal with “Ole George” Whiskey is to let the unique flavor of the rye come through.
Since opening in June of 2007, Grand Traverse Distillery has prided itself as a “Grain to Bottle Artisan Distiller” which supports the state’s active agriculture industry and now boasts the “Pure Michigan” seals on most of its products.
Hand-crafted in small batches, Grand Traverse Distillery products include four vodkas (True North Vodka, Chocolate Vodka, Cherry Vodka and Wheat Vodka) and five whiskey products including the double-barreled Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey (93 proof), Bourbon (92 proof), a 2nd Straight Rye Whiskey (90 proof), White Dog – an un-aged 100% Corn Moonshine Whiskey (80 proof); and Cherry Whiskey (80 proof), as well as a soon-to-be-released gin.
Grand Traverse Distillery distributes or True North Vodka, Cherry Vodka, Wheat Vodka and White Dog Whiskey to more than 900 retail outlets and 400 restaurants/bars in Michigan via Great Lakes Wine and Spirits. All of the other Grand Traverse Distillery spirits are available at one of four tasting rooms – including two in Traverse City (the original location on Industrial Circle and in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons), River Place Shops in downtown Frankenmuth, and in Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula, not far from historic Fishtown. A new tasting room is schedule to open during the summer of 2013 in Novi.
Earlier this year, Grand Traverse Distillery was recognized as one of the 2013 “Michgian 50 Companies to Watch,” – an awards program sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation and presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business and has been selected as 2013 Top 10 Small Business by the Traverse City Chamber on Commerce.