Eastern Kille Distillery named Michigan Whiskey Distillery of the Year

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Eastern Kille Distillery won double gold for its Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey. Courtesy Eastern Kille Distillery

A Grand Rapids-based distiller was named Michigan Whiskey Distillery of the Year upon receiving its first double gold award from the New York International Spirits Competition.

Eastern Kille Distillery won double gold for its Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey. In the 10-year history of the international spirits competition, this was the first double gold awarded to a Michigan-based distillery.

Eastern Kille also earned a silver award for American Dry Gin.

The NYISC hosted its first virtual competition and received over 1,200 entries from over 30 countries. This year, judges were mailed samples to try in their homes.

Eastern Kille’s Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey was among 21 whiskeys awarded double gold this year.

“Our goal when we started Eastern Kille in 2014 was to create world-class whiskey in our home state of Michigan,” said Steve Vander Pol, co-founder of Eastern Kille Distillery. “We have never sourced whiskey and are patiently distilling and aging our spirits for years hoping to achieve that goal. To win a double gold medal for our Straight Rye Whiskey and be listed alongside legendary whiskies like Dewars 25-year-old, Elijah Craig and Russell’s Reserve 10-year Bourbon is a thrilling experience.”

Michigan Straight Rye Whiskey is a double pot distilled from a recipe of rye and barley grain then aged a minimum of two years in new, charred oak barrels. It is made in small batches of hand-selected barrels to achieve a spicy whiskey with notes of fresh rye bread, dark fruit, baking spice, chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon.

It is available by the bottle at the distillery, as well as Meijer, SpartanNash and independent stores throughout Michigan. Shoppers can also find it featured in an “Old Fashioned” cocktail kit available for pickup at the distillery.

Eastern Kille is releasing its first bottled in bond rye this November, which used the same award-winning rye. The bottled in bond was aged slightly longer and has a higher proof.

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