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Industrial-strength drinks: Industry City gets a vodka tasting room

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If you build it, they will come.

And the chemists and engineers of Industry City Distillery have built it. They built the still and the fermentation tanks used to create Industry Standard vodka. And now the vodka virtuosos have built a tasting room in the corner of their sixth floor distillery in Sunset Park, which is already getting buzz from local drinkers.

“Our neighborhood was lacking a place to go and have a drink after work,” said co-owner Ronak Parikh. “Our space is well suited to receive people.”

The gritty, industrial tasting room has enormous windows with views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. And while most tasting rooms only offer shots of the distillery’s beverage, Industry City serves nine different cocktails made with its signature beet sugar vodka.

The drinks also highlight the company’s latest product, “Technical Reserve,” an extremely high-proof spirit (95.6% alcohol by volume) designed for quick flavor infusions, which the owners have used to make bitters and limoncello for their cocktails. Distillery co-owner Dave Kyrjeko designed the equipment which produced the reserve, and he also created the cocktail menu.

One first-time customer was impressed by Kyrjeko’s cocktail concoctions.

“Fresh ingredients and a great knowledge of pairing them with the alcohol,” said Kensington resident Brian Oestreich, who was tasting the mojito-like Dr. Ellison ($10), a refreshing mix of Industry Standard vodka, freshly pressed cucumber juice, mint leaves, and bitters. “I think it’s as good a cocktail as you’ll find in Brooklyn.”

Of course, the location and the recipes wouldn’t be worth much without a good product. The owners believe that their vodka stands out from other distillers because of their backgrounds in science and technology.

“A lot of distilleries will ship in commercial alcohol, mix it with water, slap a label on it and call it vodka,” Parikh said. “There are guys here with chemical engineering backgrounds. Not only do we ferment here, we actually breed our own yeast here.”

The distillery is legally allowed to operate the tasting room as long as it serves food, which in this case is Latin-inspired snacks from Julio’s Famous Foods. The tasting room is also required to serve locally produced alcohol made with local ingredients, but Parikh said the distillers do not see that as a limitation.

“We celebrate that fact,” said Parikh. “We curate a truly local menu.”

And locals seem to agree with that approach.

“We like supporting a local business,” said Stacey Ward, a Bay Ridge resident who works nearby. “This space is so open and airy and the drinks are bright and summery.“

Industry City Distillery [33 35th St., Sixth Floor, between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, (718) 305-6951, www.drinkicd.com]. Open Fri, Sat, 4–10 pm.

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at efaynberg@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.
Updated 10:47 am, July 2, 2015
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Reasonable discourse

Matt from Greenpoint says:
Never had beet sugar vodka.
Potato vodka is nice.
Tito's uses corn.
The water is as important as the ingredient and filtration. For example, Luksusowa (my favorite) is a potato vodka with an almost creamy quality that I attribute to a certain mineral balance in the water but it could be the potatoes.
I wonder what water source Industry uses and whether beet vodka is worth the Industrial strength price tag I assume this product has.
July 2, 2015, 1:55 pm

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