Looks like Brooklyn may be home to two brand-new distilleries by the end of next year. In a corner of Williamsburg near McCarren Park is the soon-to-be New York Distilling Company, a gin-soaked side project that reads like a supergroup: There’s Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Tom Potter, consulting master distiller Jason Grizzanti of the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, and Allen Katz, chairman of the board of directors of Slow Food USA. The company’s logo has been designed by Milton Glaser, the man behind the famous “I ♥ NY” rebus and Brooklyn Brewery’s now-classic script logo. According to the official website, New York Distilling Company has raised enough seed money to get to work. (Tom Potter first publicized the idea back in April.) Ultimate plans include whiskey as well as gin production. Over the next few months, the team will move equipment into an enormous corrugated aluminum shed they’ve dubbed “the Shanty.”
Breuckelen Distilling is in another corner of the borough. The company’s sole employee is 30-year-old Brad Estabrooke, a former money manager who lost his job last year and quite possibly the only person to ever be genuinely inspired by the contents of an in-flight magazine (an article about relaxed licensing and regulations for micro-distilleries). Friends and family are providing most of the start-up capital, and Eastabrooke plans to start bottling in the spring and open a tasting room in Sunset Park. “I hope people will want to come down here for some gin,” he says. Breuckelen Distilling is located in a renovated factory on a stretch of 19th Street zoned for heavy industry and visited most regularly by eighteen wheelers. The space is newly painted and currently empty, save for a forklift and a desk. The custom-made copper still is expected to arrive in the spring; Eastabrook ordered his grain mill last week. The dilettante distiller plans to use New York State wheat to make his alcohol from scratch, and he’s looking for local juniper, too, if anyone has any suggestions.