1 Love It
Save it

Booze tours in New York City

Get your buzz on with a tour of these New York City alcohol purveyors, including breweries, wineries and distilleries

Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith

Look past the endless assortment of beer bars, wine bars and dive bars in NYC, and instead sign up for one of these booze tours in New York City. There’s nothing like sipping your beverage of choice right from the source: the brewery, distillery or winery where it was made. Most of these cheap (or free!) tours allow you to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production process and taste some of the wares. Who knows—you might even learn a little something. So what are you waiting for, boozehounds?

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC

Breweries

Brooklyn Brewery

It’s always beer-thirty at this stalwart New York brewery. Thirsty drinkers can drop in for one of its two-hour guided tasting tours or gratis ten-minute walkthroughs any day of the week. During the former, you’ll sip four beers—including seasonal and rare Brewmaster’s Reserve pours. Don’t worry, you can still imbibe during the freebie tour by nabbing a pint ($5, five for $20) in the tasting room. During your stroll, peep the eight fermentation tanks that were shipped over from Germany, each holding up to 45,000 pints at a time. $15 for a two-hour tour, basic tours are free

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kevin Gessner

Buy tickets Read more
Williamsburg

The Bronx Brewery

New York state was once the largest producer of hops in the United States, but over the last century, the great beer-making tradition lost some steam. Bronx Brewery brought it back to the Bronx in 2011, and they’ve been doling out pours of their signature Bronx Pale Ale and seasonal varietals ever since. Stop by on Saturdays and Sundays for free tours at 1:30pm, 3pm and 5pm. When the weather’s warm, you can even sip your pint outside in the brewery’s backyard. Sounds like the ideal Sunday afternoon to us. Free

Read more
The Bronx

Transmitter Brewing

This six-barrel brewery and tasting room in Long Island City integrates unique strains of yeast from their brewery “library” into farmhouse-style suds, like Brett Pale Ale and Gin Barrel Golden Ale. It sells beer in bottles instead of on draft, so come with a group of friends and buy a few varieties to share in the production-facility-cum-bar. Tours here are a more casual affair—just ask an employee to show you the digs on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Casual tours only

Read more
Long Island City
Advertising

SingleCut Beersmiths

Queens, a borough laden with beer makers before Prohibition, returns to its frothy roots with its first full-scale brewery in decades. The 30-barrel brew house has a taproom outfitted with lagering tanks, a stage for live music and refillable growlers for purchase ($20–$30). SingleCut hosts free 30-minute tasting tours each Saturday and Sunday at 5pm, when you can sample the solely-brewed-in-Astoria beers, including the 19-33 Pilsner and the Softly Spoken Magic Spells IIPA. Free

Read more
Astoria

The Flagship Brewing Co.

A hops' throw from the Ferry terminal, Harpoon vet Patrick Morse and former Phoenix beer distributor Jay Sykes bring brewing back to Staten Island—the borough has been brewery-free since Piels closed its plant in the 1960s. Cool down after the ferry ride with tall mugs of the award-winning IPA, full-bodied Metropolitan Lager and other seasonal suds in the taproom. On Saturdays, boozehounds can pay $5 for a tour and tasting at either 2:30 or 4pm. $5

Read more
Staten Island

Rockaway Brewing Company

Though this brewery was born as a homebrewing project in its namesake Rockaway Beach, owners Ethan Long and Marcus Burnett set up their professional digs in Long Island City in 2012. Drop by the Queens brewery and taproom (or their new Rockaway location) to try favorites like the Black Gold Nitro Stout or 1875 Pale Ale. See how the sausage gets made on one of the many free tours: Fridays at 6pm, Saturdays at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 6pm, Sundays at 3pm and 5pm. And if you find something you love, you can always buy a growler ($23 for a 64-ounce growler, $15 for a 32-ounce growler) to take it to go. Free

Read more
Long Island City
Advertising

Distilleries

Industry City Distillery

Industry City, a group of repurposed waterfront warehouses that until 1974 was called Bush Terminal, houses this Brooklyn distillery built by five pals, all newbies in the alcohol industry. Plunk down $5 to join a tour every Saturday at 3pm, or spend a little extra for two special souvenir glasses. You will spot house-made items like a $3,000 yeast propagator tank that normally retails for more than $300,000 and a letterpress for bottle labels. Along with the golden Willy Wonka–inspired ticket you receive with your tour, you’ll also have a chance to taste the goods. $5 for a basic tour, $18 for two people with souvenir glasses

Book Now

Read more
Greenwood

Kings County Distillery

This whiskey distillery pumps handcrafted, organic-corn-based moonshines and bourbons in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s 112-year-old Paymaster Building. Using only New York grain, old-school distilling practices (for example, aging whiskey for at least 14 months in charred-oak barrels) and minimal packaging, Kings County Distillery harkens back to a pre-Prohibition NYC. The hourlong tour grants admission to the “Boozeum,” which displays old photos and newspaper clippings about NYC’s distilling history, and includes three slugs of the hard stuff. $14

Buy tickets Read more
Brooklyn

New York Distilling Company

Visitors to this Williamsburg craft distillery can enjoy a guided tasting of spirits like the Perry’s Tot 114-proof Navy Strength Gin (one of the few navy-strength gins produced in the country) and the Dorothy Parker American Gin (a contemporary-style gin infused with elderberry and dried hibiscus petals). After marveling at the 1,000-liter copper-pot still, have a couple more drinks inside the company’s on-site cocktail bar, the Shanty. The free tours happen every Saturday at 2:30pm, 3:30pm and 5pm. Free

Read more
Williamsburg
Advertising

Van Brunt Stillhouse

This Red Hook spot brings spirits like New York grain whiskey, Due North rum, Red Hook grappa and moonshine back to the borough where they were once heavily produced. Investigate the process behind copper-pot distilling before concluding the tour with a taste of the good stuff. $10

Read more
Red Hook
Port Morris Distillery

Port Morris Distillery

Adventurous drinkers must head up to the Bronx to taste this tiny distillery’s little known spirit: pitorro, a Puerto Rican moonshine made from sugar cane. This stuff is strong—92 proof—and comes from an old family recipe that master distiller (and tio to founders Jerry and Ralph Barbosa) Rafael Rodriguez brought with him from Puerto Rico. Sample both the original pitorro and pitorro anejo aged in wooden barrels on a tour of the facilities. $12 for two people

Book Now

Greenhook Ginsmiths

Greenhook Ginsmiths

This isn’t the run-of-the-mill stuff you find doused with tonic in dive bars. Greenhook Ginsmiths relies a custom-made copper still and unique vacuum distilling process to preserve the delicate aromas of juniper, elderflower and chamomile. Reserve a spot in a 45-minute tour any Saturday at 1pm or 2:30pm to meet the ginsmiths and taste all three of the intriguing spirits: American Dry Gin, Beach Plum Gin Liqueur and Old Tom Gin. $20 for two people

Book Now

Advertising

The Noble Experiment

There’s a definite retro feel to this East Williamsburg rum distillery: "The Noble Experiment" was once a nickname for the 18th Amendment, while the name of Owney’s Rum honors Owen “Owney” Madden, a notorious bootlegger. That white, unaged rum is the distillery's sole spirit, but it's an unusual one: Owney's is cold-fermented for a whole five days. Join a 45-minute tour each Saturday at 2pm or 5pm to learn about the production process and taste the distinctive rum straight up and in a cocktail. $10

Book now Read more
Williamsburg

Wineries

Brooklyn Winery

The thorough 30-minute behind-the-scenes tours at this Williamsburg winery also include a curated tasting of a variety of wines at the bar. Our tip? Ask about their award-winning vintages, like the 2012 Cabernet Franc made from grapes grown on Seneca Lake and the 2014 Riesling, which the winemakers expect to continue to age well for the next 10 years. $25

Read more
Williamsburg

City Winery

For 35 bones, embark on a tour and tasting at this Soho restaurant, bar and music venue. Tours include your choice of three vinos (typically made on-site) paired with a seasonal cheese plate. Oenophiles will be happy to know that City Winery offers tours seven days a week at 4pm. $35

Read more
Downtown
Red Hook Winery

Red Hook Winery

Red Hook has become a stronghold of the Brooklyn DIY food and drink movement, with artisanal chocolate, vermouth and other goodies spilling from the cobblestoned community. In 2008, the ’hood upped its quota of locally sourced fare with the opening of Red Hook Winery, which uses exclusively New York State grapes to make riesling, sauvignon blanc, petit verdot and other wines. Stop by on weekends to enjoy a tasting ($15 for four pours) and a complimentary 15-minute tour of the facilities, or book a private barrel tasting and tour. $35 for a barrel tasting and tour 

Advertising

Looking for another drinking activity?

The best pub crawls in NYC

Part tour, part drinking extravaganza, pub crawls might very well be the best way to get to know New York City. 

Read more
By: Annalise Mantz

Comments

1 comments
Brian H
Brian H

Great article! So excited to see local craft beverages being made all around the city. A few you missed: Gun Hill Brewery, Bridge & Tunnel, Interboro Spirits & Ales, Finback Brewery, Folksbier, Doc Herson's Natural Spirits, Rooftop Reds, and even more.


I'm so excited about the local beverage scene that I just started leading bus tours for groups for Urban Adventures. It's the Brewery Winery Distillery tour and is customized for each group. We take people to three producers (in any combo of breweries, wineries, and distilleries) around the city (including some of the facilities that are not officially open to the public) to get tours, meet the producers, and sample the booze. Check it out: http://www.urbanadventures.com/new-york-tour-private-new-york-brewery-winery-distillery-tour