Beer Before Liquor: Brooklyn Brewers Try Hard Stuff

One of the city's premier beer brewers is planning to distill hard liquor.

Tom Potter, co-founder of the Brooklyn Brewery, plans to distill gin and whiskey in Brooklyn -- in what will be the first legal still in the city since Prohibition, The Brooklyn Paper reported.

And if everything goes as planned, New Yorkers could be toasting to that by next year.

"I'm not expecting it to be easy, but I'm optimistic," Potter told The Brooklyn Paper. "We're about a year away from production."

After spending a lot of time kayaking, Potter, 53, got back on the saddle and created the new company  "New York Distilling," which will produce "handmade," "traditional" and "artisanal" products using organic ingredients.

Although investors for the $3 million operation are still needed, Potter is already shopping around for the perfect place to build his business.

"I would prefer Gowanus -- it's just a really cool neighborhood," said Potter, who founded the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg in 1977 with Steve Hindy. He's also checked out Williamsburg, Red Hook and Sunset Park as potential ports for his potent potables.

But will the new distillery be as successful as the famed Brooklyn brew? One local business owner thinks so.

"Anything Tom puts out is going to be something I'm happy to carry in my store,"  Darrin Siegfried, owner of the Park Slope liquor store Red, White and Bubbly, told the the Brooklyn Paper. 

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