Whiskey’s ‘secret ingredient’ is Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois distillery gains attention in national craft competition

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A blend of unique Southern Illinois ingredients has helped Grand River Spirits earn two medals in the red eyeAmerican Distilling Institute’s 2015 Annual Craft Spirits Competition in Louisville, Ky., last week.  From among nearly 500 entries, Grand River Baby Whiskey was awarded a “Best in Category” medal while the Grand River Baby Bourbon picked up bronze. Both spirits are made with local grain and then handcrafted at each stage, including fermentation, distillation, barreling and bottling. But the folks behind Grand River Spirits know it takes more than grain, water and yeast.  “That secret ingredient is Southern Illinois. There’s no other place that possesses this beautiful quilt work, beginning with the natural grains from local farmers to our hometowns and the people who help share our spirits, including our bottling volunteers to the guys making our deliveries,” said distiller Karen Binder.

Grand River Spirits views everyone in their distilling community like neighbors and visits with each one, down to the grain purveyors and barrel coopers. “Our spirits are a toast to Southern Illinois,” Binder said. Grand River Spirits is the region’s first legal distillery since Prohibition. Its spirits are now available throughout Illinois, including Chicago and Springfield, and this summer in St. Louis. Both the Baby Whiskey and Baby Bourbon were winners in last year’s American Craft Spirits and Washington Cup American Craft Spirits competitions. The distillery’s Red Eye corn whiskey also has been awarded for its

Red Eye Original, Red Eye Lemonade and Red Eye Pie.

Grand River Spirits tourLocated at 428 Wood Road in Carbondale, free tours and tastings are 4-7 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays or by private appointment. For more information, visit www.grandriverspirits.com or call 1-618-503-9050.