Update: American Craft Spirits just posted an interview with the owners of Kings County. Go check it out.
Kings County Distillery is the oldest operating distillery in New York City. While that may sound impressive, you should know that it first received its license in April of 2010, making it less than a year old at this writing.
The New York craft distillery scene is indeed young, but thriving. Thanks to a 2007 New York law that loosened regulations and fees on licensing and operating a distillery in the state, there are now twelve craft distilleries operating across New York State (the most famous being Tuthilltown, maker’s of the Hudson Whiskey line). Among this dirty dozen, King’s County Distillery is officially the first legal distillery operating in New York City since Prohibition.
The “distillery,” such as it is, exists in a 330 sq. foot studio on the second floor of a warehouse in Williamsburg. As a condition of the license, their whiskey is distilled using corn grown in New York State. Using five, ten-gallon pot stills and induction burners, Kings County is able to produce about 48 flasks worth of whiskey per day. And when I say flasks, I’m dead serious. Kings County’s whiskey bottles are literally shaped like hip flasks.
In addition to moonshine, Kings County has a bourbon that is currently available for tasting at the distillery, and should be on the shelves at local liquor stores in NYC later this year.
Color: Clearer than water - this is white dog!
Nose: Sweet corn.
Taste: Heavy on the corn, but alsolightly fruity. Stone and red fruits are apparent rather than citrus fruits.
Finish: Surprisingly long with the fruits coming to dominate the sweet corn more and more until it fades.
Overall: I’m not a huge moonshine drinker, so I have few points of comparison. I’d say this is surprisingly smooth considering moonshine’s reputation, though at only 40% ABV I’ve certainly had many whiskies of much higher strength. I think the true test here is how well it mixes into cocktails, and what the hangover is like if you drink it neat, neither of which questions I have answers to at the moment.
Other Opinions: Kings County is still young enough that these are basically nonexistent, so here’s what I could dig up in terms of supporting articles about the growing white dog/distilling industry in Brooklyn, and across New York State.