Take a Look Behind the Scenes of Red Hook's Artisanal Food and Drink Makers

By Nikhita Venugopal on August 11, 2014 7:33am 

Slideshow
 From sausage-making classes to tours of chocolate factories, manufacturing facilities in Red Hook are opening their doors to the public for a behind-the-scenese look at their products.
Explore Local Manufacturing Spaces and Distilleries in Red Hook
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RED HOOK — Red Hook is turning into a maker’s paradise with purveyors of artisanal food and drink adopting the waterfront neighborhood as their home. 

From a soon-to-be open chocolate factory on Seabring Street to small-batch whiskey makers on Conover Street, local distilleries and production spaces are opening their doors to visitors with classes, tours and tastings.

A behind-the-scenes look at local making spaces can be a great way to explore a neighborhood or even a fun idea for an evening date, said Sophie Grant, class coordinator for Fleisher’s Meats whose processing plant is based near Liberty Warehouse. 

The meat shop, which has a popular Park Slope retail location, does not sell its products in Red Hook but opens its doors for butchery and sausage-making workshops, where meat lovers can “spend an evening hands on, in depth, into the local food system,” Grant said.

When small businesses begin crafting their own goods, gaining attention can be the hardest part of introducing the product, said Jack Summers, owner and founder of Jack From Brooklyn, a distillery in Red Hook. 

By opening the doors to his plant, he can give people a taste of his brand and beverage.

“Instead of going to the public, the public is coming to you,” he said.

Here are a few ways you can explore Red Hook’s food and drink manufacturing scene:

► Bean-to-Bar Chocolate and Small-Batch Whiskey at Cacao Prieto

Cacao Prieto’s chocolate factory doubles as a distillery for its artisanal spirits and liqueurs, including Widow Jane, its signature “urban bourbon.”

Tours and tastings take place on Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Each tour is about 45 minutes to an hour and includes tastings of Cacao Prieto’s chocolate and spirits as well as a 10 percent discount on chocolate at its retail shop.

Walk-ins for weekend tours are welcome. Private tours during the week must be scheduled in advance, a company rep said.

Location: 218 Conover St. at Coffey Street

Price: $15

► Whiskey and Rum Tours of Van Brunt Stillhouse

The Red Hook distillery offers a roughly 30-minute tour of its space on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for a look at how its whiskey and rum products are made. Tours can be scheduled in advance here.

Location: 6 Bay St. at Otsego Street

Price: $6

► Sausage-Making Classes and Beer from Fleisher’s Meats

The “traditional, old-fashioned butcher shop” will host the next sausage-making session on Aug. 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its Red Hook processing plant. The class includes a pig-butchering demonstration as well as mixing, stuffing and twisting your own sausages with beer pairings from Brooklyn Brew Shop

Fleisher’s Meats also offers an intermediate butchery class at its Red Hook facility.

Location: 260 Conover St. on Pier 41

Price: $75 for the Aug. 14 class. For tickets, click here.

► Sample Sorel by Jack From Brooklyn

Jack From Brooklyn opens the doors to its 3,500 square-foot distillery for tours from noon to 4 p.m. on weekends.

The tour is about 30 minutes and includes tastings of JFB’s signature drink, Sorel, a handcrafted alcoholic beverage that’s a modern twist on a Caribbean drink. Owner Summers recommends booking tours in advance by emailing him at info@jackfrombrooklyn.com.

Location: 177 Dwight St. at Van Dyke Street

Price: Free

 Chocolate-Making Classes and Tours at Raaka Chocolate

Raaka Chocolate will open its new 3,500-square foot chocolate factory in Red Hook next month and the company is bringing tours and chocolate-making classes. Tours of the factory begin on Sept. 25 with tasting sessions. The two–hour chocolate-making classes start on Sept. 27

Location: 62-64 Seabring St. near Van Brunt Street

Price: $10 for the tour; $50 for each class

► Tours and Tastings at The Red Hook Winery

Tastings are poured every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tours, which only take place on weekends, must be scheduled in advance and are roughly 20 minutes long. Barrel tastings and private tours are also available.

Location: 175 - 204 Van Dyke St. on Pier 41

Price: $5 to $12 for tastings depending on the number of wines selected. Tastings are free with any $15 tour.

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