NYC's biggest distillery produces vodka in Brooklyn warehouse - KMSP-TV

Industry City Distillery

NYC's biggest distillery produces vodka in Brooklyn warehouse

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

So, a yoga instructor, a commercial fisherman, a graphic designer, a CO2 specialist and a metal worker walk into a 100-year-old Brooklyn warehouse and start making vodka.

"I had some terrible college experiences [with vodka]," Industry City Distillery business manager David Simon said. "And so I tended to shy away from it."

If you're wondering how this could possibly end well, we're with you. But in three months, Industry City Distillery expects to become the largest vodka distiller in New York City, producing 4,000 bottles of its Industry Standard vodka every month.

That product spawned from the minds and hard work of five utility guys --- all younger than 30, all fascinated with improving processes, all with resumes totally void of any distilling experience.

"It's kind of nice being the outsider," Simon said, "because you aren't stuck in any of the dogma around the industry."

And then there's the ICD workshop: If Tim the Toolman Taylor, Santa Claus and Dr. Frankenstein collaborated to design a laboratory, it might look a little like the giant space on the sixth floor of a turn-of-the-century industrial building where Simon and his five colleagues tinker away.

There we find a batch fractional reflux still (we don't know what that means either), a bio reactor and a yeast propagator -- all custom built, stealing designs from industries as seemingly unrelated to spirits as the chemical and petroleum fields.

"For our influences," ICD fabricator and machinist Zachary Bruner said, "we look to industries which need precision, which need efficiency and which need guaranteed results."

And, yes, all that custom shop work seeks to make the tastiest vodka possible.

"Happy yeast, for lack of a better term," ICD engineer and amateur biologist David Kyrejko said, "is what makes good flavors."

Forty cuts of good flavors for the ICD team to taste, then keep, blend or toss out. Forty cuts to lead the rise of the craft spirits industry in New York City.

"Where does our booze come from?" Simon said, mimicking the demands of the ever-questioning consumer. "And second of all, can be it be made better? Can it be made locally?"

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