Prohibition in Brooklyn is definitely a distant memory at the Van Brunt Stillhouse!
I was traveling back to NYC this past weekend and started doing some research on all of the recent "craft distillery" pop-ups in the area. It has been quite the craze lately and actually, on one of my latest tours I learned why. There are certain rules, tax breaks etc. for distilleries to purchase a majority of their ingredients from NY state farmers. I didn't dive too deep into this New York State Farm Distillery Law, but found this good read that explains it very well. Take a look!
Anyways, I decided to go to a very small producer called Van Brunt Stillhouse. It even says "Small Batch" in their logo. They have about 10 employees and it is mostly family run and owned. Located in Red Hook, NY (an area of Brooklyn), it is definitely one of the up and coming areas. They have only been opened for 5 years and most of their distillers came from the beer world. Their facilities are unique, because it is very hands on. Their equipment is original and re-purposed. The still was previously used for brandy and the masher was for beer as you will see in the pictures below.
Everything is small batch and only aged about 1-3 years. They actually age their whiskey in 10 gallon barrels versus the 53 gallons so that they can get it to market quicker. Currently, they can only support the demand of the local NYC market, so these tastings were a treat!
They have four product lines: whiskey, rum, grappa and moonshine. I only tried the whiskey, but my favorite out of the four I tried was the "American Whiskey". It is a mix of barley, rye and corn making it difficult to classify it into a specific category. Their bourbon was good as well and had some sort of a coffee, toffee finish which was unique. I thought I would like their single malt the best, but it didn't hit me as well. It was structured more like a lowlands single malt.
Above picture is of their tasting room.
Above: The small bottling station and where bottles are held. Unfortunately their bottles are so unique that they have to be hand filled right now.
Above: Me with their still! I finally made a picture!
Above: Their aging room. The don't lay them on their side. They feel it doesn't make a difference with the small 10 gallon barrels.