For more than 100 years, no whiskey distillery has called Manhattan its home. That changed this month as Great Jones Distilling Co., Manhattan’s first and only legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition, opened its doors in NoHo.
The six-year construction journey has overcome city regulations, centuries-old fire codes, and a global pandemic to deliver a new spirit to the city and give New Yorkers their own whiskey distillery. The result is now a 28,000-square-foot space, which encompasses a custom-built and engineered distillery where people can enjoy distillery tours and tasting experiences, as well as a restaurant, speakeasy and event venue, which will open starting in September.
Great Jones Distilling Co. was founded by Proximo Spirits and the vision of owner and 11th generation spirits maker Juan Domingo Beckmann. The idea was born from the belief that the best spirits should be the embodiment of their origins, threading the history of bourbon in New York to the present day. To celebrate the best that New York has to offer, the whiskies are made exclusively with grains grown in the soil of the Black Dirt region less than two hours north of Manhattan in Upstate New York.
The building of the distillery space, designed in partnership with Groundswell Design Group, conquered many unique challenges. Located in an area of the city with a rich history from the Prohibition era, the 82-year-old building had to be reinforced deep below ground to support the custom combination copper pot still with two columns housed on the second floor, navigating the subway system that runs below the building. During the renovation, a secret tunnel was discovered, thought to be used to transport whiskey and other spirits under the streets of New York. This tunnel now runs directly behind the speakeasy set to open this fall.
Photo: Great Jones Distilling Co.