By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The interior of the old Paymaster’s Building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard has been transformed. It is the new home of Kings County Distillery. And now that it’s open, it is offering tours and tastings.
"Our work renovating the 113-year-old Paymaster’s office is finished — for a little while — and we’re ready to share it with our friends and customers,” said Colin Spoelman, who with his partner, David Haskell, has improved and expanded the size of the tasting room, which is open for tours every Saturday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. (Weekday tours are available by appointment only.) The tours include a whiskey tasting and admission to the Boozeum — “our in-progress exhibit of distilling history in New York City.”
As the Eagle reported last summer, the distillery had outgrown its 600-foot facility in Bushwick and opted for the 7,000-square-foot Navy Yard site. Spoelman and Haskell said at the time they chose the Navy Yard for its central location near the East River and Williamsburg.
“We don’t have any signage on the exterior yet, though we are working on a design,” Spoelman said. “The Navy Yard had put in new windows and a new roof before we took over the lease. Most of the work we did was to the interior — removing an ill-conceived 1970s renovation, adding new plumbing and wiring.”
Outside, on the far side of the building, the partners have planted a cornfield. It’s about 70 feet by 70 feet and “we do have our very first ear of distillery-grown corn budding.”
They are also growing barley in another field, but due to high heat, poor soil “and our own limited experience in urban agriculture, our grain field is a bit scraggly,” he said.
Spoelman’s only lament: “It’s not easy to find us.” The building is the first one inside the Navy Yard from the Sands Street Gate, at Navy Street on the DUMBO/Vinegar Hill side. “Our street address (63 Flushing Ave.) is misleading.”
The distillery reports it is also a part of the Brooklyn Spirits Trail, which directs visitors to 10 drinks producers throughout Brooklyn.