More NYC Booze (aka Locavore Liquor)


Fancy Flask: KCD’s Brooklyn-Made Bourbon.Photo: New York Magazine/Grub Street

It’s a small world, right? Yesterday New York Magazine’s food blog reported that a third Brooklyn distillery will join two others already in the works: The Kings County Distillery in East Williamsburg, launched by fellow New York Magazine editor David Haskell and his friend Colin Spoelman, a Kentucky native. (That’s the state that’s home to much of the bourbon production in this country, natch). We just happened to meet Haskell–who calls his company KCD for short–just this past weekend at a blizzardy birthday party for Gabe McMackin, the chef at Roberta’s Pizza.

McMackin (who made kickin’ pig tail Cubanos, tomato soup and crispy salmon cakes for his fellow partyers) was lucky enough to score a lovely little bottle like the one above of KCD bourbon for his birthday. Like the other two distilleries–Williamburg’s New York Distilling Company (Brooklyn Brewery’s Tom Potter and Slow Food’s Allen Katz are partners) and Breuckelen Distilling (the project of Brad Estabrooke, who calls himself “an ordinary guy”)–KCD hasn’t yet started production.

But Haskell and Spoelman are now making little test batches (like the one called “Angela Loeb” Gabe got gifted) not in barrels but in tanks with a few pieces of oak to flavor the booze. For the real deal, of course, they’ll move to barrels (new oak for bourbon, aged for whiskey), though a full-size barrel takes a longer time to age the whiskey, says Haskell, so they might push up production in a few barrells that hold just a gallon of liquor.

Yet unlike those other two distilleries, Haskell proudly notes, KCD has already started the application process for his license to make booze right here in NYC, meaning he expects to be the very first distillery in the city, selling his bourbon, whiskey and moonshine at local bars and a few liquor shops, as well as custom runs for restaurants.

All three distilleries, says David, are taking advantage of a recent law designed to help upstate farmers make liquor from their grain–Tuthilltown, the first NY State distillery since Prohibition, did the very same, as we reported in Edible Manhattan this year. To that end, Haskell looking for two farmy things: a local source of rye or wheat or corn, or a farmer willing to grow them for KCD, and a nearby place with a pig or two where KCD can send their waste products (aka spent mash) to be eaten by said pigs. So if you have a lead on a grower of grain or live in Williamsburg and have a pet pig, let us know and we’ll get you connected. We bet you there’s some fine Brooklyn booze in it for you.