People we love: Middle West Spirits

In case you haven’t heard, one of our favorite spirited flavors, Middle West Whiskey & Pecans ice creamis back for the season. Something magical happens when we add Middle West Spirits’ small batch wheat whiskey to fresh cream—the whiskey flavor opens up and explodes with notes of butterscotch, honey, and vanilla. It’s soft on the palate but doesn’t linger. (Salted and crunchy whole pecans adds texture and just enough savoriness to round out the flavor.)

That whiskey flavor is by design, says Ryan Lang, our longtime friend, and Middle West co-owner and head distiller. He hand-selects whiskey just for us and pulls the first bottles off the run, so the flavor is perfect every time. “We always believe that you want a whiskey that’s soft on the palate, but doesn’t linger,” says Ryan, who comes from four generations of bootleggers. “For Jeni’s product, it’s no different. We want to give you the best product we can to put into the ice cream, so you have an opportunity to make the best ice cream possible.”

If you’ve never heard of Middle West Spirits, you’ll want to take note. Because this Columbus distiller—one of the first craft distillers in the country—makes products that are unlike anything else on the liquor store shelves. Ryan, a former engineer, founded the distillery with Brady Konya, who came from the marketing world. From the start, their vision has been to create products that pay homage to the agronomy of Ohio and use only products grown in the state.

This includes food-grade corn, soft red winter wheat, and pumpernickel rye, among other grains to create spirits with flavor profiles distinct to the surrounding terroir. For example, every batch of their signature OYO is distilled with single-origin, soft red Ohio winter wheat, then barrel-aged to perfection in white American oak cooperage sealed with beeswax.

This attention to detail and dedication to their craft is just one reason we say Middle West’s whiskey (among the many other spirits they distill) tastes like nothing else out there—and it’s why our ice cream, which we’ve been making with Middle West’s signature whiskey since 2011, follows suit.

Middle West Whiskey & Pecans is now available in scoop shops and online. Also, keep an eye out for a boozy flavor featuring their four-grain wheated bourbon returning this holiday season.