The History of Hooch

Kings County Distillery

New York’s Kings County Distillery, founded in 2010, makes handmade moonshine and bourbon out of the 113-year-old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The distillery is the first of its kind in New York since the roaring 1920s. Using New York grain and old school distilling equipment, Colin Spoelman, a former rooftop moonshiner, and David Haskell, the great-grandson of a Prohibition-era bootlegger (and Deputy Editor at New York Magazine), have created their own distinctive brand of whiskey.

On the cusp of the recent moonshining boom, the distilling duo published a book earlier this year entitled a Guide to Urban Moonshining: How to Make and Drink Whiskey. Bookstores can’t keep it on the shelves. And with good reason!

The Guide to Urban Moonshining covers whiskey’s history and culture dating back to the 1640s, a list of common day microdistillers and advice on how to build a worthy whiskey collection. The book also provides an easy-to-follow guide for safe home distilling. (Read: You won’t be making it in your bathtub and it won’t rot your guts.)

We were lucky enough to chat with Colin Spoelman about his book and what he’s learned turning the passion project he shared with his friend Haskell into a successful venture.

Read the interview on