Colin Spoelman really likes booze. He likes it so much, in fact, he opened a distillery.
But Kings County isn't just any old distillery; it's the first one to open in New York City since the end of Prohibition. As a passionate urban whiskey-making pioneer, Spoelman didn't really start with a business plan. He started with a love for the product and a hobbyist's still. The demand and respect that he gained from the local community quickly propelled his company toward becoming a legitimate operation. Kings County now resides in a 7,250-square-foot space in Brooklyn's Navy Yard.
This all-encompassing love of the product is felt at every stage of production. The distillery houses a Boozeum (that's a booze museum) dedicated to the history of alcohol production in New York City, a reflection of Spoelman's ability to bolster the operation with his own pet passions, a savvy move that communicates to the clientele his impressive level of commitment.
"I got started making whiskey because I like whiskey," says Spoelman. "So all of these different affinities have played into what have become productive business decisions."
Bottom Line: Start with a full cup of your passion, add two jiggers of business planning, shake well, and serve with a smile.
[Video produced by Shalini Sharma // Camera and edit by Tony Ditata]