Kings County Distillery

Kings County Distillery, co-founded by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell, is New York City’s oldest, largest and premier whiskey (corn, bourbon and rye) distillery since prohibition clocking in 8 years of service. Colin Spoelman got his beginnings before that where he just had his license and started distilling from his Brooklyn apartment from a five-gallon Hobby Still. When Kings County Distillery got their license after prohibition, they distilled that first legal gallon of whiskey, with emphasis on legal because still to this day it is a federal crime to distill without a license. Before 2009 a Craft Distillers license in New York state was $13000 a year with a 3-year commitment. In that same year they acquired the Farms Dealers license which was offered for $128, but with that they had to agree to a couple of conditions: 75% of all their ingredients must be sourced from New York State farms and they also have a cap on the amount of spirit that they can produce which is about 75000 gallons a year.  They were fully established in April of 2010 operating business in Bushwick before moving to their current location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They are known for their hand made moonshine, bourbon and other whiskeys. All products are distilled on site and some are aged on premises as well but most of their aging process takes place at their offsite warehouse in Williamsburg.

The tour of the distillery was very interesting and informative. We were given a tour of the Booseum, which is where they keep all their failed products for showcase. Then we went down to the distillery room, then we had a tour of the aging room before heading over to the tasting room to try some of their whiskeys. The tour guide/ tasting room personnel was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all questions we had. The distillation process is: first, choosing the sugar source which in their case would be grain (barley and corn) which they purchase from Organic Farms in the Finger Lakes. Secondly, the extraction of the sugar: the grains are mixed with warm water creating what is called a mash. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, so the yeast can be activated. Thirdly, fermentation: with the addition of the yeast, sugar then turns into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast multiplies until most of the sugar have been absorbed resulting to a beer. One site they use open fermentation in an open huge oak barrel for three to five days before transferring it to a bulk spirit tank where the collection of hearts can also be used to infuse whiskey.  Fourthly, the distillation process: the mash is distilled in batches in pot steels where ethanol is increased through this process. Then it is placed into a steel where the beer turns in whiskey.  Lastly, the aging process: the spirits are placed in wooden casks which adds flavor, color and texture making the final product. Just like wine the longer the whiskey ages the more flavor it has and the darker in color in gets.


Learn About Distilling

Sugar Source: Barley

Sugar Source: Corn

Fermentation of beer. Fermentation takes place in an open oak barrel for 3 to 5 days

Pot Still (Distillation): Converting beer into whiskey. The mash is distilled in batches in pot steels where ethanol is increased through this process.

Bulk Spirit Tank: Collection of hearts can be used to infused whiskey.

Aging Room

The different colors in relation to how long they are aged.





Retail Analysis: Heights Chateau

Heights Chateau is a neighborhood store located at 123 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn Heights. The store has a classic, simple design with options of carefully selected wines from around the world, as well as spirits. Customers have the option of choosing wines from a wide variety off the shelf or from the temperature-controlled cellar. Heights Chateau has been featured in many magazines and newsletters and is not only known for their huge variety of wines but for their wine tastings and food pairings.

Upon walking into the store, the employees were very welcoming and friendly. Wines were located neatly along the sides and the center of the store and the spirits were located to the back. While walking around I realized that different countries have a different way of organization. All the wines are neatly categorized by the country they are from. On the right side of the store, are foreign wines organized by different regions and the left side of the store, is organized with domestic wines from all around the USA organized by the different types of grape. Heights Chateau chooses their wines in three different ways: firstly, by a list of classic wines that are expected by customers, secondly, their own desire to explore new wines and thirdly, wines that are brought to them by their provider.  They also try to keep their products at a standard level temperature of 71° – 72° in store and the cellar is held at a temperature of 43° – 44°.

When introducing a new wine to customers not much marketing takes place there. They are not really interested in the idea of samples or tastings. Their key concept is just trying to have everything organized. In general, they try to place the more expensive wines at the top and the least expensive ones to the bottom so that way they would be able to make more space for the new ones. Due to their huge inventory they do a newsletter called “What’s New” that they send out every week just to inform customers of all the new wines but most times marketing their new products are done by word of mouth from employees to customers. It is essential that employees get familiarized and informed about the different wines that they offer.

Shelf Talker: Amaro Lucano, an Italian herbal liqueur in the Amaro category.

Rioja is a red wine made from the grape called garnacha, which is one of the well-known grapes grown in Spain.  It is a dry wine that is aged in oak barrels which gives it a touch of spiciness to the flavoring.


Cremant is a sparkling wine made from pinot noir grapes in the traditional method.

Cremant is a sparkling wine made from pinot noir grapes in the traditional method.Cabernet Sauvignon from Jerusalem Vineyard is a dry red wine with aromas of field berries and vanilla.  It is also known as a Kosher table wine.