5 Best New York Distilleries You Must Visit


by Liam Clark

New York might be known for a lot of things, but liquor production isn't high on that list. That didn't stop these entrepreneurs from creating their own home brewed libations.

From gin to whiskey, these companies offer their own unique twist on traditional liquor. And of course if you go on these tours be sure to sample the products.

SEE ALSO: Top 7 Italian Restaurants in NYC you must visit

So map out your day and explore these local new york distilleries.

Kings County Distillery

299 Sanders Street, Building 12, Brooklyn

Kings County Distillery

Located in the 115 year old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Kings County Distillery is, in fact, the oldest operating whiskey distillery in New York even though they were just founded in 2010.

They originally made their start in a small building in East Williamsburg and moved their operation to their current building back in 2012.

The company prides itself on using only New York grain for their whiskeys and locally built wood fermenters for a true New York flavor.

In order to get those deep and rich colors and flavors, they use traditional methods for aging whiskey like aging it charred-oak barrels for 14 months. This attention to detail and love of the craft has led to awards from the American Distilling Institute and American Craft Spirits Association.

Tour: Wednesday and Friday at 3pm; Saturday 1pm-4pm; Tasting tour admission $8.

The Noble Experiment

23 Meadow Street, Brooklyn

The Noble Experiment

Named after Herbert Hoover's "Noble Experiment" back in 1919 (also known as prohibition), this East Williamsburg distillery is a far more fun than its namesake.

Establish in 2012 by Bridget Firtle, this distillery captures the age-old tradition of rum making in New York City.

What separates this rum from others you might see is its use of all domestic ingredients. The rum consists of only three ingredients: molasses, yeast and water from New York. Firtle employs long, cold fermentation and low-rectification distillation for a smoother flavor.

Their rum – Owney's – is made from all-natural, non-GMO molasses with no artificial flavor or color.

Tour: Free self-guided tour with the purchase of a drink Thursday and Friday 5pm-12am, Saturday and Sunday 2pm-12am

$25 Distiller-hosted Thursdays and Fridays at 6pm or Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and 5pm.

Van Brunt Stillhouse

6 Bay Street, Brooklyn

Van Brunt Stillhouse

For a wider variety of spirits, Van Brunt Stillhouse might be your best option. They create whiskey, rum, grappa and moonshine for your drinking pleasure.

Regardless of what you try, all of their spirits are handcrafted in small batches. When possible, they source local and organic ingredients from New York State. For example, their whiskey is made with 60 percent organic NY State corn while their Moonshine uses 100 percent NY State malted six row barley.

In the case of their rum, they focus on gathering ingredients from small farmers that still dry the canes out in the sun.

Depending on when you go, they may even have some different varietals of grappa. The tour includes an overview of the different processes for the spirits and a tasting of three products: whiskey, bourbon and rye.

Tour: Thursday and Friday 4-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 2pm-6pm. $10/person.

Cacao Prieto

218 Conover Street, Brooklyn

Cacao Prieto

If you want a little snack with your drink, Cacao Prieto is a perfect option. The company offers delicious, handmade chocolate from the owner's personal cacao farm out in the Dominican Republic.

The chocolates come in a variety of percentages and styles. So what about the booze? Yes, they have that too. They offer two different types of rum both of which use cacao beans and sugar cane.

Their unique rum utilizes a distillation method that preserves and concentrates the amount of antioxidants in the rum. Does that make it good for you? Well, maybe in moderation.

As you might expect, the cacao rum flavor profile offers deep chocolate flavors with hints of coffee. Besides rum, the company also offers bourbon whiskey called Widow Jane – so named after the Widow Jane mine in Rosendale, New York. According to the company, the limestone in the mine has more beneficial minerals than those found in Kentucky.

Tour: Saturday and Sunday 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. $20.

Industry City Distillery

33 35th Street, Brooklyn

Industry City Distillery

If you're familiar with vodka, you'll know that the most are made from potatoes. For the most part, vodka is generally categorized as a neutral spirit, which makes it perfect for mixed drinks.

The best vodkas are often described as smooth or soft, but there's still no description of flavor, unless you specifically buy the flavored kind. Industry City Distillery flips everything you know about vodka on its head.

Made from sugar beets, their vodka has a unique flavor profile with hints of fruit, spice and even vanilla. They attribute this to their overall process.

With a focus on the science of distillation, the company is able to create new methods that yield the most consistent and tastiest results.

For example, rather than use the standard tanks and stills, they have made their own custom-built glass bioreactors for faster fermentation with better control. As well, they use steam instead of boil to distill the alcohol for a more efficiency.

Tour: Friday and Saturday 4pm-10pm.

Honorable Mention

Tirado Distillery

888 East 163rd Street, Bronx

Tirado Distillery

It isn't the fact that this is the first distiller in the Bronx since Prohibition; it's the fact that the owner - Dr. Renee Hernandez - is also a doctor of internal medicine.

Surely if it's made by a doctor it must be good for you, right? While that point might be up for debate, no one would argue that the products certainly taste good. Tirado focuses on three spirits: corn whiskey, sweet whiskey and rum as well as the occasional fermented maple syrup called Tirado Maple Delight.

They get around 80 percent of their ingredients directly from New York farms. Any unused/discarded ingredients (like spent corn) is then composted or used as animal feed. What's more, all of the employees are live near the distillery, making this a truly local distillery.

Tour: Call (917) 974-0380 to set up a tour.