The retail shop I went to visit is called Bottoms Up Wines and Spirits located at 731 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238.I called in advance the day before to see if I could have a one on one with a sales person there, but no one picked up the phone. So I went the next day blind and to my surprise it was closed. I was not aware that wine shops don’t open that often in the morning. There was no sign telling me what time they opened, so I checked online and found out they open everyday at noon. I had class and work to attend to, so I went about my day and came back around seven. When I arrived at the store gates were open and the lights were on, finally. I walked into the establishment and say a young man no older than 25 sitting on a table and another young man no older than 32 sitting at the cash register. The younger man greeted me first with a “wazzup, what can I do for you?”, I immediately knew that this place was a more casual spot. I replied telling him about myself and why I was here, and he told me to look around and ask any questions I had.
I noticed that the wines were separated by price, with the labels $14, $16, $18, etc. painted on the floor. After looking around I asked my questions about the wines and then finished with personal questions about themselves. The younger man’s name was Nick and he started working there 6 months ago, with little to no knowledge about wine and now he is moderately knowledgeable about the industry. He said he came in because he saw the help wanted sign, not because he was really interested in wines. But his interest quickly changed after he started learning about it. The other gentleman’s name was Andrew and he has been working there for only 2 months, but had past experience in another retail wine shop that he worked at for 2 ½ years. He said that this was his passion and will love to one day be a spokesperson for a high end wine corp.
One thing I found really interesting was their “shelf talkers”. They were not in the open on a pedestal, they were where the other wines were but with a tag on them with a picture of people on them. Andrew explained that this is their way of expressing which is their favorite wines were, by putting this tag with pictures of their employees and having them explain the wine and why they like it. I liked this concept a lot because it creates a connection with the customers that the employees actually like what they are selling instead of selling an expensive wine that might not even taste good. I ended the night by telling them it was a pleasure meeting them, shaking both of their hands and I left.
I had the pleasure to visit Kings County Distillery for my Winery Assignment. It is located at 299 Sands Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11205 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This was my first time to a distillery and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I scheduled my tour for 5pm, so I had to leave early. I used google maps to navigate me to the location and was confused at first at the building I approached. The building was brick with vines growing on the sides of the wall. I read the sign that welcomed me into a bar, as I walked inside I immediately thought I was at the wrong location. I was at a bar. As I attempted to close the door and leave, a woman yelled out, “ are you here for the tour?”, I opened the door again and introduced myself. She confirmed my reservation and started to bombard me with questions about who I was and why I was here. I had to interrupt her mid-question and asked her for the bathroom, I had to go badly. She pointed the way and I walked down this very old, but surprisingly sturdy staircase. The bathroom was ancient and a little demonic, with five lit candles under a mirror. When I arrived back upstairs it was time to start the tour.
We walked to another building, and this was where the whisky was made and sold. Lisa, our guide, showed us the room first and then we followed her into a discussion room, where she talked about how whisky came about. She mentioned things about prohibition, speakeasies, the whisky wars. After the history lesson she took us back down stairs to explain how the whisky is actually made. She explained the products needed to make whisky. First you make a mesh, which is the grain you use and is the sugar needed to make whisky. The combination they used was 80% corn and 20% molten barely. The mesh is cooked to break down the sugar and then placed into a cannon to separate the liquid from the solids. Yeast is added and the liquid is heated with steam to extract the alcohol from the water. Alcohol Evaporates at a lower temperature than water does, so the temperature is very important at this stage. If it is too high, too much water will be in the end product. The vapor then passes through copper pipes to cool down and is collected into a tank. There is a process called spirit run where the alcohol that is produced is separated from non consumable to consumable. The liquid that comes out first is Methanol and it comes out blue from the contact with copper in the production process. Then the rest is Alcohol.
The tour ended with the group having a whisky tasting. I didn’t like anything I had and since it was so strong I left the establishment with a pounding headache. Other than that I enjoyed myself and felt like I learned a lot about the whisky production process.
Whisky for sale and display
“Kings County Distillery.” Kings County Distillery, http://kingscountydistillery.com/.
New York Distiller’s Guild. “NY Distilled.” New York Distiller’s Guild, https://www.nydistilled.com/.