Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Around The Whisk(e)y World In 7 Days - Tuesday - Day #2

Distillery: Middle West Spirits
Location: Columbus, Ohio. USA
By: Aaron Cave

Middle West Spirits is a local, award winning micro-distillery located in the Short North Arts District within the heart of Columbus, Ohio. The Short North is home to some of the city’s best restaurants and bars, and in 2010, Middle West Spirits was the first micro-distillery to open their doors in Columbus.

Brady Konya and Ryan Lang spent two years getting their distillery up and running, and in May of 2010 their two years of hard work finally started to bear fruit. Their first product was an artisan vodka called OYO. OYO is a native name for the Ohio River and Ohio Valley, which means “Beautiful River”.

OYO Vodka started as the first release and quickly became their flagship spirit. OYO is made from local soft-red winter wheat; it is full-bodied and has tons of character. This vodka is 34x distilled, all natural and unfiltered. Yes, unfiltered! It is unfiltered so as to maintain its character and body. OYO has an aroma of vanilla, figs, and spice. It is full bodied with vanilla and honey on the palate. This is a bourbon lover’s vodka!

After their flagship OYO vodka hit the shelves, Brady and Ryan moved on to infusing their OYO vodka with vanilla beans and stone fruit. Middle West Spirits don’t half ass anything they do. So when I say infuse, they infuse! No fake syrups to give it flavor, they infuse all natural ingredients during the distilling process. For the Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka they use local wildflower honey and organic vanilla beans. For their Stone Fruit Vodka, it’s fall harvest stone fruits. Cherries, yellow peaches, apricots, almonds, hibiscus and wildflower honey. Most ingredients are local, otherwise they are from the larger mid-west region.

Brady and Ryan take their OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka one step further by barrel-finishing it in their OYO Whiskey barrels. Bomb! OYO Barrel-Finished Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka. The really whiskey lovers vodka - this one is a killer. The palate is marshmallow, honey, vanilla, creamy brown sugar, and spiced oak.

Vodka is not the only thing Middle West Spirits is putting out. They have released an 100% Red Winter Wheat Whiskey which is aged about 2-3 years, and is also non-chill filtered. Brady and Ryan take their whiskey one step farther, and age it in oloroso sherry barrels. The OYO Oloroso Wheat Whiskey is one of my favorite offering from Middle West. The wheat whiskey has great flavors of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, but when introduced to the sherry cask, it develops a rich nuttiness with black cherries and dark chocolate.

The new addition to the Middle West family is the 100% Dark Pumpernickel Rye Whiskey and OYO White Rye Whiskey unaged and barrel strength. The unaged barrel strength rye is something special:  Sweet and spicy, with flavors of butterscotch, pepper and spicy grain.

Back in 2010 everything was done in an 8000 square foot space. Their process was small and refined - every product was done in single batches. They ran everything in batches of approximately 600 liters at a time. All batches were hand-bottled and hand-labeled.

Fast forward to 2016, with the distillery being newly renovated. Now it’s a 16,000 square foot open air distillery. They have gone from 130 gallons of spirits a day, to more than 10,000 gallons a day. They now have three separate stills: One for whiskey, one for vodka, and a third for rum/brandy/gin.

I am really looking forward to seeing where Middle West Spirits will go from here!​

To learn more about Middle West Spirits, check out their website here


Aaron Cave
Regular readers of The Son of Winston Churchill properly knows who Aaron Cave is, but for anyone new to this blog;

Hi my name is Aaron Cave. I am bourbon lover and enthusiast, from the United States. I live in Columbus Ohio, just a short 2 hour drive to Kentucky. I have been a big bourbon enthusiast for about 4 years. I also helped start a whiskey enthusiast group in Columbus as well, the Whiskey Barrel Society. I really enjoy high proof and non-chill filtered bourbon and Scotch. Some of my favorite pours includes E.H. Taylor barrel proof, Blanton’s SFTB, Knob Creek Single Barrel, and Old Scout barrel picks. Right now I am really into barrel picks from different bourbon society’s and liquor stores.



Make sure to check back in tomorrow, where we are heading to Bakery Hill Distillery in Melbourne, Australia with John Totsidis

Want to read our previously distillery visits? Click below!