The passage of the Craft Distillers Act 2015 (Assembly Bill No. 1295) means that 2016 will bring a new dawn for local spirits makers. When the new legislation kicks in on January 1, distilleries will finally have the privileges that breweries and wineries have had for years; now distilleries will be able to sell bottles directly to consumers (up to three bottles a day per customer), host private events and tastings and most excitingly, serve cocktails on site.
To gear up, Old Harbor Distilling Company's founder and distiller Michael Skubic has launched a new campaign to revamp his craft distillery, which first opened in the East Village last fall and has so far produced small-batch gin, rum and coffee liqueur. Skubic's Bar & Barrels campaign on Indiegogo hopes to raise $100,000 by end of the year to remodel his 7,500-square-foot distillery to add a new cocktail bar, dubbed The Old Harbor Sunset Bar, that will open at sundown and serve cocktails made with Old Harbor spirits and developed by top local drink crafters.
The project will also grow the distillery's barrel-aging program and provide the company with the infrastructure to expand his spirits offerings; future bottlings will include Mexican heirloom bourbon, eau de vies and distilled honey wine made in collaboration with local Golden Coast Mead. With the goal of launching the new bar on New Year's Day, Skubic is offering campaign fund rewards that include invites to the VIP opening, vouchers for Old Harbor's barrel aged Barrelflag rum and a private sunset cruise with cocktails and bites from Tribute Pizza.