Powerful spirits and powerful prose have flowed from below the Mason-Dixon Line since the days of Faulkner and Twain. Colin Spoelman–founder of Kings County Distillery, New York City’s oldest whiskey distillery–appreciates the potency of liquor as well as literature, and is committed to perpetuating the South’s legacy for both.
Raised in a dry county of Kentucky, Spoelman came of age around homemade alcohol, but only began experimenting with fermenting as a Brookylnite. The novice who once mixed batches of bathtub white lightning is now a master distiller; Spoelman refines artisanal corn whiskey and bourbon in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s 113-year-old Paymaster Building.
Control is essential when crafting spirits, and when quaffing them too. From his barrel room Spoelman intones the short story “Barred Owl” by Chris Offutt, a fellow native of the Bluegrass State, and a writer whose candor about alcoholism burns on the way down.
Digital painting by Canyon Castator.