The story of Breukelen Gin is told in this lovely short film that ties together two emerging cultural trends: the rediscovery of the hand-made and the rise of Brooklyn (or Breukelen) as a brand
Breukelen Gin packaging by I Love Dust
Breukelen Gin (taking the old Dutch name for the New York borough) was started by Brad Estabrooke after he was laid off from a job in finance in 2008. His story is told in the above film, the first in a series named Made By Hand, a filmmaking project that looks to document the “handmade” movement in Brooklyn and further afield. Their next film will focus on Cut Brooklyn, a knifemaker.
Hipster Brooklyn, with its independent shops, flea markets and ever-growing population of creative-types is a natural home for such businesses, often started by the disillusioned and the recently redundant looking to somehow do something ‘real’ with their lives and their pay-offs. After years of building websites, brands or M&A deals, getting your hands dirty no doubt has its appeal.
Across the water in Manhattan, there are similar enterprises, such as graphic designer Peter Buchanan-Smith’s Best Made axe brand.
But Brooklyn remains the spiritual home of the handcrafted (and often eye-wateringly expensive). Alongside knives and gin, the borough lends its name to a host of businesses including (inevitably) bikes and clothing, as well as the longer-established, now revived brewery. And, of course, the son of very famous parents.
No doubt a new neighbourhood will eventually emerge to take its place (and most of those who set the original scene have already departed for cheaper areas) but, for now, brand Brooklyn is being exploited to the max: however you spell it.
CR in Print
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