Beer isn’t the only high quality craft beverage being produced in Central Ohio these days. Columbus has built an acclaimed spirits scene that has received tremendous national press and a bevy of national and international awards. Columbus is home to two of 20 micro-distilleries that call the state of Ohio home and today we’re going to talk about one of them: Middle West Spirits.
Founded in 2008 and opened for commercial production 2010, Middle West Spirits was inspired by four generations of distilling traditions in the Middle West family. The small enterprise built its foundation on the belief that authenticity in the world of artisan spirits meant handcrafting products from scratch, while celebrating the distinctive flavors of the Ohio River Valley. Central to the distillery’s identity is the belief that craft spirits should be made with care, by hand, by creators who originally distill their own products. Middle West Spirits is proud to practice the time-honored craft of producing their spirits from grain to bottle, and honored to support the farms, craftsmen, trade partners, and retail customers who desire an authentic expression of world class, American-made craft spirits.
Middle West Spirit’s flagship spirit, OYO Vodka: The Original American Character Vodka®, named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley (“O-Why-O”), is a smooth, full-bodied vodka brimming with character. OYO is made from local soft red winter wheat, and demonstrates a perfect balance of cutting-edge technology, old-world traditions, and the finest farm-fresh ingredients. Sometimes referred to as a “whiskey-lover’s” vodka, OYO makes an excellent sipping spirit, and it’s a perfect pairing for mixers and culinary creations.
Middle West’s other flagship spirit, OYO Whiskey, is a unique addition to the crowded field of corn-, rye-, and barley-based dark spirits. Made from 100% Ohio soft red winter wheat, OYO Whiskey is produced and aged in small batches and offers a one-of-a-kind flavor profile distinctive to its Ohio origins. The distillery uses single-source Ohio grains to emphasize regional “terroir,” and barrel-ages the whiskey in white American oak cooperage sealed with beeswax. Try this in your next manhattan. Seriously.
Middle West also takes great pride in cultivating strong Ohio-based partnerships and has been doing so since opening its doors. In October 2011, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (more on this killer ice cream in the coming weeks) launched a signature flavor fueled by the rich and complex character of OYO’s flagship wheat whiskey. The OYO Whiskey & Pecans ice cream is available in Jeni’s scoop shops all around Ohio and Tennessee and by the pint in more than 400 specialty retailers across the U.S.
Tours of the distillery are offered EVERY Friday, Gallery Hop Saturday (first Saturday of each month), and seasonally on Wednesdays at 6pm. The tour costs $15 per person and reservations are required. Visit www.middlewestspirits.com for more information.
At the core of their efforts, Middle West Spirits commits to equal parts inspiration and education, working to challenge the palate while honoring Ohio’s unique role in the history of America’s distilling traditions. Be sure to try it while you’re here and enjoy every sip!