Earlier this month, Allen Katz, a 20 year veteran of the food and beverage industry and Tom Potter, co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery, launched the New York Distilling Company. The new venture consists of a distillery and a full-service bar, The Shanty, from which they sell their products.
So far, the New York Distilling Company offers two items. One is Perry’s Tot, a navy-strength gin (57 percent alcohol by volume) named after Matthew Calbraith Perry, the commander of the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1841 through 1843. The second, another gin, titled Dorothy Parker, is “a blend of traditional and contemporary botanicals including juniper and elderberries, citrus, cinnamon, and hibiscus.” They plan to manufacture a three-year aged whiskey in 2013.
“We’ve crafted two very unique and very high quality gins that will find a place in the market both in the bars as well as homes,” said Potter. Potter’s son, Bill, and Jason Grizzanti, the master distiller at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, helped craft the gins.
For Potter, who sold most of his Brooklyn Brewery stock and went into retirement, distilled spirits is a brand new ballgame. “Brooklyn Brewery is the largest alcohol brewer in the city,” he said. “That experience gives me confidence that we can put together the distillery.”
Potter’s success with the Brooklyn Brewery inspired him to establish the new company at “home.” “The most important thing is that we make a product that’s made locally and respected everywhere,” he said. “New York is on the one hand a very critical market because it’s very educated, and people know their stuff. But it’s also a wonderful market in that there are a lot of people who really care about high quality spirits, and people who are interested in new products and willing to give them a chance. It’s the best possible place for a small distillery like us to start.”
The distillery and bar sit near the (disputed) Greenpoint/Williamsburg border at Richardson and Leonard streets. The Shanty was located next to the distillery, to give people a view of the brewing equipment while drinking at the bar.
The ultimate focus, said Potter, is to ensure that the New York Distilling Company consistently offers quality alcohol. “The primary goal is to make a world class product. We want to make gins that are considered among the very best in the world right here in Williamsburg or right here in Greenpoint. Wherever we are.”
New York Distilling Company / The Shanty
79 Richardson Street