By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 06, 2021 at 9:03 AM Photography: Royal Brevvaxling

After nabbing four gold medals for its spirits, Milwaukee’s Great Lakes Distillery was named the 2021 Grand National Champion at the The U.S. Open Whiskey and Spirits Championship, which were judged in Welland, Ontario, and Oxford, Ohio.

Great Lakes, located in Walker’s Point, also topped the top five list for spirit distilleries in the competition, which pitted spirits from the U.S. and Canada.

GLD took gold for in the gin category for its Rehorst Gin; liqueurs for Good Land Cranberry Liqueur; vodka for Rehorst Vodka; and vodka specialty for Flavor & Barrel Aged for Rehorst Citrus Honey Vodka.

In order to celebrate its big win, Great Lakes will host Championship Week.

From Aug. 9 to 15, the tasting room, 616 W. Virginia St., will offer samples of the winning spirits, discounts on bottle sales and specialty cocktails featuring the medalists, including the Good As Gold Slush, which includes them all.

“It is always gratifying to take home a top placement at a competition, but receiving four is something truly special,” said Guy Rehorst, who founded GLD in 2004, making it the first distillery to open in Wisconsin since Prohibition.

”Because the judging is blind, it’s all the more humbling to learn our spirits are the best of the best.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.