The finest brewery and distillery tours in Brooklyn

From craft beers to American gins and cocoa liqueurs, see how your favorite New York booze is made

According to the New York Distilling Company, during Prohibition, there were more than 50,000 illegal liquor stills in Brooklyn. That was a long time ago. But craft breweries and micro-distilleries are repopulating Brooklyn. Besides the excellent beers and spirits entering shelves around the country, the best part of this resurgence for residents and visitors of the borough is the number of breweries and distilleries that offer behind-the-scenes tours of the processes and history behind their products. Here are the Brooklyn booze producers that every imbiber should visit (but not all in one day; this would be an impossibly long marathon bar crawl).

Photo: Facebook

Brooklyn Brewery

Likely the first name that comes to mind when you think about breweries in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Brewery is a great first stop on any tour of the borough's beer producers. Open since 1988, it's one of the borough's oldest breweries and is the 11th largest craft brewery in the country. Located on North 11th Street in Williamsburg, the area has boomed since the brewery opened and has grown along with it. Learn about the history of the brewery and the area by taking a free tour on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You can see the detailed schedules on their website, but tours generally run every half hour for forty people at a time. While you wait, or after you've finished, try some brews in their Tasting Room and grab a snack from a food truck.

Island to Island

This brewery hides on Rodgers Ave. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Island to Island will celebrate just its first birthday in March but it has already made a splash. The location brews and serves beer with an emphasis on local ingredients and also specializes in fresh, organic smoothies and juice. The Taproom Bar is open Wednesdays through Sundays and serves small, veggie-based plates along with its beers and smoothies. Take a tasting tour on Saturdays at 3pm or 5pm or a "Brew With Us Tour" at 12pm or 2pm.

Photo: Facebook

Sixpoint

Since 2004, Sixpoint has been making draft beers in Red Hook, and in 2010 they introduced canned brews. Unfortunately, their brewery is currently closed to public tours until their new location is ready (their estimate is 2019). So this one's a bucket list tour: keep an eye on their website for updates.

Photo: Facebook

Cacao Prieto

This unique distillery, also located in Red Hook, specializes in two decadent categories: chocolate and spirits. Cacao Prieto crafts "beans-to-bar" chocolate and "beans-to-bottle" rum, whiskey and liqueurs. It aims for a line of chocolates and spirits that share the same origin in family-owned cocoa farms in the Dominican Republic. Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 2, 4 and 6pm for $20 per person. The price only seems steep until you see that the tours are an hour long and include samples of chocolate and spirits.

Photo: Facebook

Industry City

The Industry City distillery in Greenwood Heights has views of the southern Manhattan skyline from its tasting room, which serves spirits on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 10pm. It's on Saturdays at 3pm that you can take a one-hour tour of the distillery's hand-made machines for $5 (free kids' admission). Book a spot online ahead of time.

Photo: Facebook

Kings County

Since 2010, Kings County Distillery has been producing whiskeys in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Gatehouse is the distillery's tasting room and it's open everyday, serving their bourbon, moonshine and other whiskeys. Tuesday through Sunday at 3pm and 5pm, you can take a tour of the process behind their products for $14 that includes admission into the "Boozeum" and a taste of the whiskey. On Saturdays, tours run every hour between 1 and 5pm, but they recommend making reservations to guarantee a spot.

Photo: Facebook

New York Distilling Company

Distilling gin and whiskey in Williamsburg, near McCarren Park, New York Distilling Companyentered the scene in 2011 and set up a bar next door to the distillery for its visitors to taste its spirits and enjoy cocktails based on them. Called the Shanty, it's open everyday, either until midnight or, on some nights, 2am. It serves other spirits, besides the distillery's own, and beer, too. First—though it's not at all required—you should take a complimentary tour of the distillery on Saturday or Sunday (2:30, 3:30 and 5pm). This casual tour will, inevitably, lead you to a comfortable seat at the Shanty, so let yourself enjoy the evening.


Tom Twardzik is a travel writer for the Journiest. He also covers music, film, TV and gaming for Popdust and contributes financial tips to Paypath. Read more on his page and follow on Twitter.


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Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

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However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

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I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

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Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.