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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Grand Traverse Distillery (MI)

Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey

and Aged Whiskey

Images Kindly supplied by Grand Traverse Distillery


Grand Traverse Distillery is proud to be Northern Michigan’s oldest micro-distillery. Their flagship product is "True North Vodka" celebrates the natural gifts abundant to Michigan’s 45th parallel, home to the United States finest cherry industry and award winning wine producers. The finest rye in the world is grown north of the 45th parallel and the rye used is grown locally.


Using crystal clear glacial waters and quality rye make the 45th parallel an ideal location to distill vodka, whiskey, & other spirits..


Located in Traverse City, Michigan, the Grand Traverse Distillery is the vision of Kent Rabish, a Michigan native. After visiting micro-distilleries on the West Coast, Kent saw the opportunity to bring hand crafted spirits to Michigan. Across the country a renaissance is taking place in the distilling industry. Small craft distillers are bringing back hand made, high quality spirits using fresh locally grown ingredients.  Because of his Polish heritage, Kent has always appreciated a high quality spirit and he has decided to share his passion with the rest of us.


After years of research, Rabish decided to purchase a 16 plate, 1200 litre reflux still from Arnold Holstein in Germany. The still complete with the 2 rectifying columns are made from approximately 6000 pounds of copper. Copper is superior to other metals for distilling because unwanted impurities will bind to the copper and are removed from the distillate. This still design is the perfect blend of a traditional pot still and world class technology which allows the distiller to have fine control over the distillation process. The 16 plates gives the ability to control the reflux which allows the delicate aromatics, congeners, & flavor elements from the grain and yet removing the undersirable characteristics from the spirit.


Ole George  100% Straight Rye Whiskey


Has been bottled and is now available for sale at the Grand Traverse Distillery.  This is a very limited supply for sale this year (only three barrels) so you will have to come  the distillery to purchase.  Next year they hope to have enough to send to the US distributors,


Ole George Whiskey is distilled from a 100% rye mash bill and is bottled at 93 proof. The objective was to distill a traditional rye whiskey. Prior to prohibition Americans drank rye whiskey.  Rye has a unique character that no other grain can provide in that the rye imparts a spicy flavor.   Bottled straight from the barrel, not chill filtered as Chill filtering  can remove flavor,  to let the unique flavor of the rye come through.


Whiskey Aging Barrels


Grand Traverse Distillery is pleased to announce a new addition to their family of Michigan distilled spirits, "Michigan Whiskey".

Customers can now come to the distillery and chose their own whiskey barrel in one of three sizes; 2, 3, or 5 litre. These small custom whiskey barrels are hand crafted from American white oak and charred on the inside just like the big boys that they use for aging their stock whiskeys.


They offer 5 different un-aged whiskey distillations in terms of grains; corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, and a peated malted barley.


With these different grain options you can create your own custom whiskey. The whiskey is sold separately in one litre bottles at 125 proof. They have found that the aging process at this high proof is preferred over a lower proof and you will be able to enjoy your whiskey in about 6 months. Just add water to lower the proof to the level you enjoy.


They provide detailed instruction with the sale of the barrels. For example, if you chose the 5Litre barrel and fill with 3Litre of 125 proof whiskey after aging, (around 6 months), add 1.5L of water (distilled water is best). You will now have over 5 bottles (750-ml) of your own custom aged whiskey to enjoy. Then, come in to the distillery to purchase more un-aged whiskey and repeat the process.

Grand Traverse Distillery

781 Industrial Circle, Suite 5

Traverse City,

MI 49686

Phone: 231.947.VODKA (8635)