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In 1646, under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, the village of Breuckelen became the first municipality in what eventually became the state of New York. At the time, Breuckelen was still part of New Netherland, a Dutch colony. The Dutch lost Breuckelen to the British in 1664 and, over time, the name evolved from Breuckelen, to Brockland, to Brocklin, to Brookline, to Brookland, and eventually, to Brooklyn.
Breuckelen Distilling Co. opened its doors after Brad Estabrooke, a former securities trader at Deutsche Bank, left his job and read an in-flight magazine article about New York amending its laws to accommodate craft distilleries. After biking to 77 19th Street in Brooklyn, he found a space "” a former boiler room "” in an industrial neighborhood sandwiched between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the East River. In September 2010, Brad began distilling Breuckelen 77 Whiskey.
Breuckelen 77 Local Rye & Corn Whiskey is crafted by milling a mash of 90% rye and 10% corn. The grains, which are sourced from local farmers, are milled inside a mixer traditionally reserved for concrete. After milling and mashing the grains, Estabrooke ferments the mash at the distillery without using any genetically modified yeast. As a result, fermentation is a much more costly, labor-intensive process for Estabrooke. Following fermentation, the wash is distilled inside a 400-liter Ulrich Kothe hybrid copper-pot/column still.
Then, Breuckelen 77 Whiskey is aged in charred, new American oak barrels for a minimum of seven months. "I tried a sip of the first batch before bottling," Brad says. "The whiskey had a buttery smoothness with noticeably spicy flavors; cinnamon and nutmeg came immediately to mind." After aging the whiskey, Brad fills and corks each bottle before sealing it with hot, melted wax.
He credits independent food, wine, and beer distributors for making people feel comfortable with trying new brands. "It's a matter of time before they come around with spirits, too," he says. "Consumers have come to realize that small, independent producers can do really special things."
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