A Distillery (or Two) Grows in Brooklyn - Which to Visit?

PUBLISHED IN distillery, whiskey, bourbon, rye, gin
There was a time when Brooklyn was considered ‘too far away’ or even ‘too dangerous to live in’, yet alone financially viable to open a booze-based business. That dynamic has changed. Since the early 2000’s Brooklyn has become the flashpoint to more glass and steel towers than you can shake a three-sided ruler at.

And, these days you can’t swing a hydrometer without hitting a distillery or a brewery.  So which are worth visiting?

Kings County Distillery

The County of Kings

In the year that gave us The Social Network and Inception, the gang at Kings County Distillery ran with an idea - Open a distillery in The Borough of Churches (Brooklyn).


Saturday and Sunday mark the busiest days of the year for Kings County as we participate in Open House New York. Tickets are by reservation only, and while we will do our best to accommodate walk-ins for our regular tours, be advised that we may need to turn away guests without advanced tickets. The Gatehouse will be open to all on a regular schedule.

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It Takes Two...

Colin Spoelman (Co-Founder & Head Distiller) and David Haskell (Co-Founder) put KCD on the map by becoming the first distillery to produce Whiskey in New York City since Prohibition. Take a second to do the math- Subtract 1920 from 2010 and that’s just shy of a century.

Mr. Spoelman, Mr. Haskell and their team have won more Gold and Silver awards for their Bourbons (Straight, Peated and Barrel Strength), and Whiskeys than most countries have Olympic medals. If you’re not convinced, stop by the distillery for a tour to sample their wares. You will not be disappointed.


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Van Brunt Stillhouse

Ship Ahoy!

Located in the Red Hook section of The Borough of Trees (Brooklyn), The Van Brunt Stillhouse’s facility is a tribute to the area’s nautical origins. Filled with the faint memory of wooden ships and sea salt encrusted sailors, the distillery produces a smoke forward Corn Whiskey, a zesty Rye Whiskey and a smooth wheated Bourbon that would make Father Mathew order a round for the house.


We have @thestillhouse pouring here tonight until 9pm, so stop by to taste their Bourbon, American Whiskey, Rye, and Single Malt. Link in profile. . . #vanbruntstillhouse #whiskey #whiskeytasting #bourbon #ryewhiskey #singlemalt #americanwhiskey #madeinnyc #madeinbrooklyn #tasting #ues #nyc

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The Family that distills together...

Sarah Ludington and her husband Daric Schlesselman brought VBS to life in the peninsula-esque area of Red Hook in 2012 when they took over a 6,000 square foot warehouse space and started producing Bourbons that made some Louisville distillers do a double take.

As much as VBS loves to make Bourbon, Whiskey and Rye, the love to sell it too. The tasting room has a Sunday night Happy Hour with $8 Old Fashions and bottles of VBS on sale for 10% off.


Deeeeeeelicious! This place is absolutely wonderful. If you’re ever in New York and you enjoy the whiskey, do yourself a favor and GO. @thestillhouse #whiskey #theryeisthebest #vanbruntstillhouse #newyork #redhook

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Widow Jane Distillery

Chocolate in the front and Liquor in...

As great whiskey makers throughout the world from Kentucky to Scotland have long known, it takes sweet water from tough rock to make great whiskey. And, that’s what Widow Jane Whiskey is all about.


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All Widow Jane whiskeys are proofed with pure limestone mineral water from the legendary Rosendale Mines of NY, just 100 miles north from our home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was limestone from this mine which was used to build the foundation of some of New York’s greatest structures: the gargantuan caissons of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and the 27,000 ton pedestal to the Statue of Liberty.

Widow Jane? New Yorker to the bone!

New York Distilling Company

Gin. Gin. Rye?

Tom Potter, Allen Katz and Bill Potter chose The Borough of Homes (Yes, Brooklyn) as their base of operations. Unlike most Brooklyn based distilleries New York Distilling Company's current concentration is Gin - Dorothy Parker American Gin, Perry's Tot Navy Strength Gin, and Chief Gowanus New Netherland Gin. And to keep it different an American Straight Whiskey named Ragtime Rye.


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Three men and a distillery

Made on premises and attached to a stark industrial themed bar named The Shanty- the firm of Potter, Katz and Potter apply their Spirits industry knowhow to make Spirits for cocktails. It’s like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Justin Lin owning and operating an Alamo Drafthouse.


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NOT The Bourbon Trail

While Kentucky has The Bourbon Trail, Brooklyn has distilleries far and wide. Which is great for the surrounding business and nearby Spirit enthusiasts. Each area has a wide spectrum of places to eat (and hydrate) after you visit a Brooklyn distillery. All of them are an Uber or Lyft ride away from every trending tourist spot.

If your next vacation or staycation involves NYC, avoid the commonplace tourist traps of Manhattan. Visit Brooklyn’s ever-changing neighborhoods and take a tour of the distilleries and breweries the Borough of Houses has to offer:

- Industry City Distillery
- Brooklyn Brewery
- Greenhook Ginsmiths
- Widow Jane
- Breuckelen Distilling
- Standard Woodworm Distillery

Let us know which one your favorite was and why it took your breath away.

By Lincoln C. Chinnery III

Lincoln C. Chinnery III

Lincoln C. Chinnery III is a freelance cocktail journalist who has written for AM New York and The Alcohol Professor. Lincoln enjoys all the major spirits - Bourbon being his favorite. He's a reader of anything related to cocktails and comic books. Find him on Twitter or Insta - @cocktailjournalist.



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