New York’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition, Great Jones Distillery, opened downtown.
âThere’s a reason no one has built it before. Because it was very difficult, âexplains project manager Andrew Merinoff. There were only 122 buildings in Manhattan that could be used for high strength distillation, and the team examined them all before moving to the 28,000 square foot space at 686 Broadway, formerly a store. shoe shop and a cash register factory.
Located a few blocks north of Houston Street, the ambitious flagship and new brand of whiskey has been in the making for six years. The multi-level space, designed with education in the foreground, features a working production facility, restaurant, multiple bars, and an immersive art installation.
The opening of the space also marks the official launch of the Great Jones whiskey label. Current bottles include pure bourbon, sold in bulk, as well as a four grain bourbon and rye whiskey exclusive to the distillery shop. Bottles are priced from $ 40 to $ 50. The product is made entirely from New York materials; the grain is grown in the Black Dirt area of ââWarwick, where the brand has an auxiliary production facility to grind the grain and bottle the product.
âEveryone associates bourbon with Kentucky, but the story is different. There was a very strong tradition of bourbon making here in the New York City area, âsays Rodrigo Braun, director of Distillery Experience, noting that the history of distillation dates back to Staten Island in the 1600s. Bring guests to Inside the distillation process was key, and the facility will offer daily tours. The highlight of the flagship is the working distillery on the second floor, visible behind a glass wall. Visitors can also look into the facility behind a glass balcony on an upper level. The centerpiece is a custom VendÃ´me yet created to mimic the New York skyline.
âWe are not trying to hide the fact that we are manufacturing. Think about the elevated places, but the workmanship is seamless through all of them, âMerinoff explains. “We don’t hide the fact that we have forklifts, that we have barrels.”
Opening a distillery in Manhattan was a long-standing goal for Proximo Spirits founder Juan Domingo Beckmann. (The opening was preceded by the Our / New York Vodka Distillery in Chelsea, the first distillery to open in Manhattan in over a century.) It was also a unique challenge, given the city’s strict laws. in terms of construction – construction required over 6,000 different floor plans. But the team points out that the building was built to exceed safety requirements: the distillery’s production room is explosion-proof and all the air in the room can be drawn in within 30 seconds in the event of a fire.
A chic lounge on the top floor will be used for private events, and the lower level features a sweatshop for workshops, tastings, and classes. The tour of the facilities also takes visitors through an immersive installation created by French artist SÃ©bastien LÃ©on that uses light, sound, sculpture and olfactory elements to transport visitors to the Black Dirt region. The scent of the space, intended to match the whiskey, is also sold as a candle in the gift shop.
The interior design is anchored in an aesthetic that hints at New York City in the 20s and 30s, with plenty of brass detailing and honey tones. âThe design premise here was the meeting between retail and the industrial elite,â says Merinoff. A personalized map in the restaurant’s dining room lights up to indicate the location of the city’s various underground bars during Prohibition, and the team discovered an underground tunnel during the renovation that was likely used to transport spirits illegally. .
âThe key element of the space was to pay homage to New York’s rich history while looking to the future,â says Merinoff. âThat’s how we’ve always looked at it: how to recognize the past and also show that we’re here for the long term.
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