Earlier this year, I was in my neighborhood liquor store in Brooklyn, chatting with one of the owners. “Have you tried Brooklyn Gin yet?” he asked. I had, I told him, and I’d even bought a bottle after touring the small distillery. At some point, we realized that we were talking about different gins, both named–phonetically at least–after our borough.
The one I had toured was Breuckelen Gin (spelled the old Dutch way), and it was barely a mile from where we were standing in Park Slope. The other one, the one that my liquor store friend was talking about, was Brooklyn Gin, which is technically distilled outside of Brooklyn in Orange County, New York.
Those two gin makers have been battling over the name, and obviously, from the confusion I experienced, there is a legitimate debate going on. Well, according to the New York Post today, that legal battle has been settled. Apparently, lawyers for the two distillers announced that they had reached a settlement, but did not disclose the details.
It was Brooklyn Gin’s Joe Santos who initiated the lawsuit. Brad Estabrooke’s argument was that he named his gin Breuckelen because spelling it straight was too obvious, not, the New York Times noted, because he was trying to be different from another gin company.
They do taste different. Brooklyn is more citrusy (five of the 11 botanicals are citrus) and Breuckelen is more floral and grainy (under the five botanicals, the taste of the grain alcohol Estabrooke distills is pronounced).
Whatever the outcome of the settlement, I hope both will still be making gin for a long time.