Distilling the Essence of Brooklyn

In 2012, Kings County Distillery relinquished its title as the smallest commercial distillery in the US, when it moved across Brooklyn from a 30 m2 space to its current location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The move wasn’t just an expansion of square footage, it was a step through history.

The city of New York contains within it the city of Brooklyn, which is coextensive with the distillery’s namesake - King’s County, New York. The many neighborhoods of Brooklyn also have layered distinctions and histories. The Brooklyn Navy Yard, now home to both Kings County Distillery and ECCO’s Design Studio also borders what was known as Vinegar Hill, or Irishtown - once home to over 20 illicit distilleries, and the corresponding 1896 US Army crackdown on them known as the Brooklyn Whiskey Wars.

It’s into this rich history that Kings County Distillery’s co-founders Colin Spoelman and David Haskell stepped when they came to the Navy Yard, importing copper pot stills from Scotland to produce corn, bourbon and rye whiskey. The history and heritage of American whiskey distilling are forefront in the minds of the founders and staff. Spoelman explains that “heritage is something we think a lot about in distilling, as whiskey-making has been around in various forms for at least 400 years, and tends to trade on how little it changes, year over year. Whiskey is not about novelty or trends, it's about loyalty to tradition and the perfection of a process that needs no change.”

The nature of making whiskey in a neighborhood with famous history attached to the drink isn’t just retrospective, it’s also about engaging the current community. Melissa Meier says, “We are very local centric. 65% of everything that we make comes from New York State and we like to think of ourselves as a self-sustaining distillery. And I think that's really inspiring.”

In that community, the team at Kings County Distillery have found a connection with ECCO, a new neighbor just across the Navy Yard. Melissa says “the Navy Yard feels like its own little town, almost. Every business tries to help each other out.”

The combination of classic Heritage inspiration, with an eye towards innovative classic ideas is a place where ECCO and Kings County Distillery harmonize perfectly. Co-founder Colin Spoelman adds, “We make whiskey the old-fashioned way, but for a younger audience that wants more variety and more diversity within whiskey tradition. So our whiskeys speak to heritage in a much broader sense: not just Kentucky bourbon, but whiskey making all over the globe. In that way, we think creativity and heritage go hand in hand.”

Pulling from the rich traditions of design heritage, and local community while finding space for creative innovations make Kings County Distillery an ideal neighbor for ECCO - two businesses whose values align perfectly.

The staff at Kings County have gotten use out of the new ECCO Heritage collection. Pictured are Melissa Meier wearing the Staker Classic Leather Boot, Nando Tovar in a pair of Staker Moc Toe Boots, Naomi West wears the Staker Chlesea Boot, and Daniel Combs in a pair of Staker Lumberjack Boots. Melissa says “They feel really comfortable. They're great for bartending as they’re super sturdy, no slip which is very important. I said out loud to my husband that I felt I was walking on clouds because they grip and are almost formed to the shape of your foot. So yeah, I love them.”

Holiday Drink Recipe

In the spirit of the holiday season, the team at Kings County Distillery have shared a special holiday drink recipe with ECCO, and we’d like to share it with you as well. Enjoy it in good health and cheer.

Christmas in the Big Apple
.75 oz fresh Pressed Apple Juice
.75 oz Demerara
.25 oz Kings County Distillery Spiced Whiskey
2 oz Kings County Distillery Straight Bourbon
Shake and strain into a chilled coup glass
Garnish with cinnamon dusted apple slice

Kings County Favorites

ECCO WOMEN'S STAKER CHELSEA BOOT
ECCO WOMEN'S STAKER CHELSEA BOOT
Add to Cart
ECCO WOMEN'S STAKER CLASSIC LEATHER BOOT
ECCO WOMEN'S STAKER CLASSIC LEATHER BOOT
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ECCO MEN'S STAKER MOC TOE BOOTS
ECCO MEN'S STAKER MOC TOE BOOTS
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ECCO MEN'S STAKER LUMBERJACK BOOT
ECCO MEN'S STAKER LUMBERJACK BOOT
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Photography by JC Cancedda