A flood of creative and highly-skilled small-batch artisanal manufacturers has helped Brooklyn eat into Manhattan’s share of the specialty goods market pie over the last decade. Shopping in Brooklyn, now a fashionable pastime for New Yorkers from all boroughs, is gaining popularity among visitors as well.
Whether you wish to treat yourself to a heavenly-scented candle; gift a friend a fifth of award-winning, Brooklyn-distilled whiskey; or find one-of-a-kind holiday greeting cards designed and printed in the borough, Kings County’s artisanal manufacturers have your specialty goods needs covered. Here’s a look at ten of the borough’s most accomplished small-batch producers and their signature products.
Bellocq Tea Atelier
Custom Tea Blends
Bellocq Tea Atelier’s leaves aren’t grown in Brooklyn, but the teaseller’s custom blends are prepared here. And the charming teaware and accessories Bellocq sells in its shop is a one-of-a-kind curation. Visit the Greenpoint shop for fine full tea leaves, flavorful tea blends, tea sets, matcha ware, specialty books, and more.
104 West Street; (800) 495-5416
Damn Spicy! Pickles
Brooklyn Brine’s pickles, mustard, ketchup, and relish are served on sandwiches at delis and restaurants throughout the borough. Shamus Jones’ Gowanus operation pickles 10,000 jars’ worth of vegetables per week. At the shop, you can purchase Brooklyn Brine’s beloved Damn Spicy! Pickles. Other popular brine flavors include barrel-cured garlic dill, NYC deli-style, spicy maple bourbon, and whiskey sour. Brooklyn Brine’s pickled beets, carrots, cauliflower, green beans and other condiments also make good specialty gifts.
67 35th Street, #5-1C; (877) 219-0256
Brooklyn Candle Studio
Soy Wax Candle
Tamara Mayne’s small-batch candles, hand-poured into mason jars in her Red Hook studio, are a perfect gift for the candle lover in your life. You can set health and environmental concerns aside. Moyne’s 100% soy candles are lead-free, petroleum-free, and phthalate-free. The studio’s cedarwood vanilla, green tea lemongrass, spiced apple cider, and other divinely fragrant candles are scented using natural, primarily organic ingredients.
33 35th Street, 2nd Floor, Suite B21
Rooftop Hot Sauce
For a thoughtful Chanukah gift or stocking stuffer for the spice fiend in your life, look for Brooklyn Grange hot sauce on Brooklyn specialty store shelves. Brooklyn Grange makes its red and green hot sauces using peppers and herbs grown on its Brooklyn rooftop farm. The operation also produces small-batch honey from local, naturally-managed beehives. In season, Brooklyn Grange is open for tours and farm visits. If you’re staying at the NU Hotel, Fort Greene’s Greene Grape Provisions is the nearest official Brooklyn Grange retailer.
Brooklyn Grange: 63 Flushing Avenue; (347) 670-3660
Greene Grape Provisions: 767 Fulton Street; (718) 233-2700
Fine & Raw Chocolate8 or 24-Piece Truffle Set
In 2003, Daniel Sklaar immigrated to the United States to pursue a career in finance. Three years later, he left his successful Wall Street career to train as a raw chef and travel the world. Upon returning to New York in 2007, Sklaar started making small batches of raw chocolate in his Williamsburg loft. Demand among friends and local vendors was high enough that Sklaar decided to scale up his operations. He invested in a former garage in Bushwick in 2008, where he now makes a good living making excellent chocolate. Fine & Raw’s chocolate and truffles are made with premium, organic cocoa, and contain no artificial ingredients, dairy, or refined sugars.
288 Seigel Street; (718) 366-3633
Kings County Distillery
Moonshine, Straight Bourbon, Peated Bourbon
In 2010, the founding of Kings County Distillery put an end to New York City’s 90-year whiskey distillation drought. In its brief history as New York’s oldest operating distillery, the operation has garnered several dozen craft spirit awards. Judge for yourself whether the Brooklyn microdistillery’s highly distinguished moonshine and barrel-aged, straight, and peated bourbons are worthy of their awards. Visit Kings County Distillery’s Brooklyn Navy Yard tasting room, where you can also enjoy straight rye, single malt barley whiskey, bottle-in-bond bourbon, chocolate whiskey,and seasonal winter spice whiskey. Distillery tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday, just over a mile from the NU Hotel.
299 Sands Street; (347) 689-4211
New York Distilling Company
Dorothy Parker American Gin
Another beloved Brooklyn liquor producer, New York Distilling Company (NYDC) opened for business one year after Kings County Distilling. NYDC distills respectable Rock & Rye and American straight bourbon, but it’s NYDC’s gin that makes Brooklynites wax lyrical. The distillery’s signature Dorothy Parker American gin derives its beloved flavor from subtle hints of juniper, elderberry, citrus, cinnamon, and hibiscus. If you like your gin fierce, Perry’s Tot Navy Strength gin is 57% ethanol. For a unique gin-drinking experience, sample the Williamsburg distillery’s Chief Gowanus New Netherland gin. The process involves aging previously unaged, double-distilled rye whiskey in an oak barrel with juniper berries and Cluster hops. If you’ll be in Brooklyn on December 5, you can celebrate NYDC’s 6th anniversary, which is also the 84th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition. At the party, the company will debut New York’s newest whiskey, NYDC’s five-year single barrel ragtime rye. NYDC offers complimentary distillery tours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
79 Richardson Street; (718) 412-0874
Liddabit SweetsSea Salt Caramels, Beer Pretzel Caramels, Caramel Corn
This candy shop’s co-founders Liz Gutman and Jen King don’t just make and sell their sweets in Brooklyn. They strive to use locally sourced ingredients whenever high-quality options are available. Liddabit’s melt-in-your-mouth caramels and handmade caramel corn are two of the shop’s most talked-about products. But Liddabit’s old-fashioned lollipops and honeycomb candy, great for gifting within a couple weeks of purchase, are also of the highest caliber. If you’re shopping for a chocolate lover or consider yourself one, take note that Liddabit ranks as one Brooklyn’s favorite chocolatiers.
2917 Avenue R; (718) 375-1277
Ganache and Caramel Truffle Assortment Box, Experimental Treats
Nunu is another celebrated Brooklyn chocolatier whose baked-with-love truffles and ganaches are worth sharing with the special people in your life. You can order Nunu online, but many of its experimental and limited-release treats are only available at its chocolate shops. So if you want to know what cashew caramel bark or a chocolate-covered North Fork potato chip tastes like, be sure to visit during your visit. Nunu’s flagship Atlantic Avenue shop is just a ten-minute walk from NU Hotel. Just one mile away, Nunu’s cute Prospect Park cafe and tap room is not far either. Both shops sell chocolate, coffee, wine, and beer.
529 Atlantic; (718) 834-1818
179 5th Avenue; (718) 622-3212
If you like to gift presents accompanied by greeting cards, visit DUMBO’s Sesame Letterpress for seasonal cards designed with Brooklyn creativity, ingenuity, and love. The printing service and greeting card manufacturer also sells impeccably designed holiday gift tags, coasters, and 2018 calendars. Sesame Letterpress is one mile from the NU Hotel.
55 Washington Street; (646) 263-7916
A hub of the contemporary artisanal manufacturing industry, Brooklyn is one of the best places to shop for specialty goods and learn more about how they’re designed, produced, marketed, and sold. If you’re interested in how things are conceptualized and made, you can even take a an award-winning “Made in Brooklyn” neighborhood tour during your visit. Tours in the Williamsburg and DUMBO neighborhoods offer a first-hand glimpse into the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of Brooklyn’s modern-day production and manufacturing sectors. The DUMBO tour focus on artisans working within a mile’s distance of the NU Hotel.