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Distilleries In New York Becoming More Common After Licensing Fee Cut

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- Industry City Distillery in Sunset Park is one of the latest to hit Brooklyn. It specializes in vodka made from beet sugar.

Peter Simon explained Industry City's production process to CBS 2's Dana Tyler.

"We're doing about 200 to 250 bottles a week, and we're making vodka at 95.6 proof and we're watering it down and selling it at 40-percent alcohol," he said.

Distillers have become more common in New York since 2007 when former governor Eliot Spitzer signed the Farm Distillery Law, which cut licensing fees from $50,000 to $15,000 annually.

"It's become far more accessible from a business friendly standpoint to open this kind of boutique business," said Allen Katz, one of the owners of the New York Distilling Company.

Katz opened the company in December of 2011. He and his partners told CBS 2's Tyler that they are thrilled to be a part of the new trend.

"It's exciting to be a part of a movement with other businesses, and not just with distilleries, but breweries and wineries, even restaurants and farmers," Katz said.

New York has had a long and rich history of distilling spirits, and Katz and his partners are doing their part to continue it by making two types of gin as well as whiskey.

The still at New York Distilling Company was imported from Germany, but at Industry City everything was hand-made on the premises.

"We have a lad, we have a machine shop, we have a glass blowing facility so we're able to take a number of disciplines and really turn them loose on making one thing," said Industry City's David Kyrejko.

There are currently 12 distilleries in Brooklyn, 13 in Manhattan, and one in the Bronx, according to the New York State Liquor Authority.

Have you tasted any of the locally made spirits? Which one is your favorite?

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