New York's Kings County Distillery Grows Up As It Ages - The Whiskey Wash

New York’s Kings County Distillery Grows Up As It Ages

One of the more interesting aspects of following the craft whiskey movement as closely as we have over the years is seeing the evolution of some of the still younger distilleries in different states (compared to Kentucky and Tennessee, anyhow) as they move beyond a start up mode to a true medium sized player in the market. One of these is New York pioneer Kings County Distillery, which was founded back in 2010 and, as a result of increased demand for its products over the ensuing years, recently found itself putting some of its whiskeys into a larger bottle size and bringing an additional still into play.

Kings County Distillery’s co-founder and head distiller Colin Spoelman recently announced that his operation – the first distillery in New York City since Prohibition when it opened and also, at that time, the smallest licensed distillery in America – was moving their aged brown spirit from being in just the well known 200- and 375-ml glass flask bottles to now include a more industry standard 750 ml one. Custom designed and imported from England, the new bottles will still keep the design of the popular smaller ones, just in a now larger format for the distillery’s flagship straight bourbon, peated bourbon and single malt whiskey.

New Custom 750ml Bottles of Straight Bourbon, Peated Bourbon, and Single Malt Whiskey from Kings County Distillery (image via Kings County)

“We built our business off of 200ml and 375ml bottles, which is unusual, but was a fit for our home audience in New York City, who were people shopping on foot and happy to slip a flask in their pocket,” said Spoelman in a prepared statement. “Small bottles also allowed customers to take a risk on something new. But as we now have regular customers asking for larger bottles, as well as distribution in 20 other states and 6 countries, our sizing has grown up. Bars and restaurants that will be especially grateful of the new format, and for our regular customers, it means more of our whiskey at a better price.”

The larger bottle formats are set to begin distribution this month, with prices ranging between $69 and $75. Backing up the increased amount of whiskey going into these bottles are an existing pair of pot stills imported from Scotland and, more recently, “a new 1350-gallon still, a ‘submarine style’ horizontal still with a Scottish-style swan neck designed by Vendome Copper and Brass in Louisville, the only one of its kind in the world.” The new still, cooker, and fermentation capacity will allow Kings County, it is said, to expand five-fold over the next few years.

“Compared with other distillers right now, this makes us only a medium-sized craft whiskey maker—which is still orders of magnitude smaller than what goes on from the big guys in Kentucky,” added Spoelman. “We committed to making whiskey on true pot stills, which are appreciated internationally but rare in the U.S.  Our production will always be small and distinctive compared to the column stills of most American whiskey. But the arrival of our third pot still will allow us to continue to grow at a measured pace that we believe anticipates increased interest in regionally focused whiskeys, like our Empire Rye, and creative whiskeys such as our Peated Bourbon.”