The History of ‘Made in Brooklyn’: From a Nascent Artisan Scene to a Booming Market

Made in Brooklyn An Artisan Renaissance

The home of the Dodgers is no longer known for being an inferior alternative to Manhattan when it comes to gourmet foods. As a matter of fact, Brooklyn is enjoying a well deserved Food and Beverage reconnaissance led by some exceptional local artisans who have successfully propelled ‘BK’ to the top.

In the last 10 years, Brooklyn has transformed to become the creative center of New York City, drawing young talent, innovative ideas and small manufacturers. Today, ‘Made in Brooklyn’ is a highly sought-after stamp of approval and educated eaters and drinkers throughout the country know it attests to a greater authenticity in the manufacturing process.

Benefitting from its proximity to Manhattan, Brooklyn-based artisans like Mast Brothers, Brooklyn Brine Co. or Sixpoint Brewery have gained significant exposure by selling to top restaurants and chefs in the City, as well as global retailers like Dean & Deluca.

The rise of Brooklyn as a top ecosystem for artisans was no incident. Affordable and available manufacturing space, City and State incentives, the creation of an Industrial Business Zone, and a wide support network of organizations dedicated to the success of the manufacturing sector have contributed to the prosperity of Brooklyn’s vibrant artisanal food and beverage scene.

Brooklynites’ inclination towards local, better-tasting food, crafted in small batches and respecting the artisanal manufacturing process have contributed to this success. Local products all share in common a respect for the artisanal craft, innovative flavors and high quality ingredients.

Mass production is not cost effective in Brooklyn. Only a small percentage of large food and beverage manufacturers are located in the borough, largely given the cost and lack of availability of real estate.

Brooklyn has managed to turn this shortcoming into to its advantage, building its image around the thriving artisanal culture and preferring to attract quality-oriented producers over commercial giants.

According to Carlo Scissura, the President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce: ‘Food and beverage production in Brooklyn is more specialized in nature and focuses on precision manufacturing.’

Yet, Brooklyn already appears to be victim of its own success. Recently, many products bearing no connection with Brooklyn have started using the Brooklyn brand in their naming or marketing strategy.

To neutralize free riders, the Chamber of Commerce has started to implement a certification process that also has the benefit to elevate the value proposition of products made in Brooklyn and educate customers around the world about what makes BK foods and beverages unique.

The coveted Made in Brooklyn label is backed by a strong following with the hipster crowd who has become familiar with its distinctive black and white gear.

‘I think Brooklyn will continue to be an innovation hub and a source of inspiration for budding entrepreneurs,’ said Scissura. ‘A collaborative and innovative culture remains and will continue to grow here, so it is up to organizations like us to support the sector in the most efficient and helpful way possible.’

For more a taste of Brooklyn-based fine foods, check out:

Eva du Monteil is a culinary trained food and wine critic living in NYC. When she is not exploring the country in search for the next hidden gem, she enjoys eating, drinking and cooking in the company of her friends, chefs and fine purveyors of epicurean experiences. While she loves NYC, she believes some of the most exciting food and drink scenes at the moment include Portland, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, and Philadelphia.

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