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Brooklyn distilleries: Where to get craft spirits made in the borough

Since the founding of Brooklyn Brewery in the 1980s, the borough has gradually become known as a hotbed for craft beer. Over the last few years, though, it has also made a name for itself as a home for distillers of craft spirits, including gin, rum, vodka and whiskey.

Here's a look at some of the distilleries leading the trend.

KINGS COUNTY DISTILLERY

Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 121, Kingscountydistillery.com Founded: 2010
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 121, Kingscountydistillery.com

Founded: 2010

Distills: Whiskey

The craft: Kings County was co-founded by Kentucky native and master distiller Colin Spoelman, who wanted to go legit after making illegal moonshine in his apartment. Today, Kings County makes a remarkably drinkable moonshine, a smooth bourbon with hints of toffee and a chocolate whiskey that uses Mast Brothers Chocolate to split the difference between moonshine and dessert wine.

Fun fact: Kings County was the first distillery to open in Brooklyn since Prohibition.

Where to find it: The tri-state area, plus select stores in California, Sweden and Japan

NEW YORK DISTILLING COMPANY

79 Richardson St., Williamsburg, 718-412-0874, Nydistilling.com Distills: Gin,
Photo Credit: Getty Images

79 Richardson St., Williamsburg, 718-412-0874, Nydistilling.com

Distills: Gin, whiskey

Founded: 2011

The craft: Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Tom Potter opened this distillery on Dec. 5, 2011 — the 78th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Its products include Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin, named after 19th century Brooklyn Navy Yard Commandant Matthew Calbraith Perry; Dorothy Parker American Gin; and Chief Gowanus New-Netherland Gin. It’s also working on a rye whiskey, which will be available later this year.

Fun fact: A full-service bar, The Shanty, is attached to the distillery. It's currently the only place to sample their rye.

Where to find it: Brooklyn, Manhattan and a few stores in the suburbs

WIDOW JANE

218 Conover St., Red Hook, 347-225-0130, Widowjane.com Distills:
Photo Credit: Widow Jane

218 Conover St., Red Hook, 347-225-0130, Widowjane.com

Distills: Whiskey, rum, rum liqueur, coffee liqueur

Founded: 2012

The craft: Widow Jane is the rare distillery that adults and kids can enjoy touring, since it’s connected to chocolate factory Cacao Prieto. Its products include the smooth and sweet 7 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey; “farm-to-bottle” heirloom varietals including the excellent Bloody Butcher, which has hints of smoke and honey; and several rums, including two made with cacao.

Fun fact: Owner Daniel Preston had multiple careers before distilling and chocolate making, including founding and selling a glass company he started in college, then later inventing new satellite technology and parachutes for the U.S. military.

Where to find it: The East Coast from Massachusetts to D.C., plus Kentucky, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota and California

VAN BRUNT STILLHOUSE

6 Bay St., Red Hook, 718-852-6405, Vanbruntstillhouse.com Distills:
Photo Credit: Van Brunt Stillhouse

6 Bay St., Red Hook, 718-852-6405, Vanbruntstillhouse.com

Distills: Whiskey, rum, grappa

Founded: 2012

The craft: Van Brunt offers Due North Rum, as well as several whiskeys, including a four-grain American Whiskey and a dry Malt Whiskey with notes of caramel. It also is working on a Grappa made from grape skins from Brooklyn Winery and Red Hook Winery.

Fun fact: Founder Daric Schlesselman previously worked as an editor at “The Daily Show.”

Where to find it: Brooklyn, Manhattan and select stores in the suburbs

INDUSTRY CITY DISTILLERY

33 35th St., 6th Fl., Sunset Park, 917-727-5309,
Photo Credit: Industry City Distillery

33 35th St., 6th Fl., Sunset Park, 917-727-5309, Drinkicd.com

Distills: Vodka

Founded: 2011

The craft: Industry City’s Industry Standard vodka is made from sugar beets, giving it a slightly fruity flavor that makes it unusually drinkable on its own (no cranberry juice or OJ needed here). Its distillery contains equipment more often found in a science lab, and every piece of it was developed and built on site, including a system of fermenting tubes called bioreactors and a steam-powered still. No wonder they say the vodka is “made by nerds.”

Fun fact: The distillery started as an offshoot of a project to make high-quality carbon dioxide for use in underwater greenhouses.

Where to find it: New York, New Jersey and select retailers in California

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