Settling into our third (!) month of the pandemic, many of us have moved from stockpiling the essentials to enjoying stress-reducing libations. Enter Greenpoint Cidery, the beverage whose effervescence is only matched by its diligent and ever-mobile owner, Nika Carlson. While a neighborhood staple for five years, Greenpoint Cidery is used to making transactions on the business-to-business level; now, the distribution is more personal as Nika shuttles between upstate farm and nearby neighbors to deliver goodies and make connections. As one of the beloved small businesses we’re highlighting in our Thursday Spotlight series, Greenpoint Cidery is both enormously affected by COVID-19 and also finding opportunity in a revamped business model. Here, Nika discusses the many hats she wears at Greenpoint Cidery and the upsides of operating an independent business amidst a pandemic.
Greenpointers: How have sales been doing during this time? And, on a similar note, is cider a drink that’s ever out of season?
Nika Carlson: Sales are good! I started doing home deliveries the first weekend the state allowed it just by posting on Instagram and taking orders via text and DM. That first weekend was mostly friends and acquaintances, but word has spread and at this point I even have regulars. It will be interesting to see how this evolves as our strange new world does.
As for the seasonality of cider, I’d say it’s always a great option. Cider can be a lot of different things, but I make it in traditional styles that are comparable to natural wine: low intervention, wild yeasts, and a long-aging process. It’s great for pairing with food, but also just for crushing on a hot day. The lower alcohol content means you can drink it without worrying about getting real tipsy, and because everything I make is totally dry, there’s less hangover there, too.
Your website states that you got your start in the Brooklyn bar scene. Can you talk about that time and how it acted as the springboard for Greenpoint Cidery?
I used to run a bar in East Williamsburg called The Drink, and we were always excited to sell anything unique. When we opened, all I knew of cider was sweet stuff like Woodchuck, but someone introduced me to Spanish cider, and my mind was blown. It was sour and funky and regional and just so cool. Cider was also experiencing a renaissance in New York around then, and I caught the bug. There’s a lot of really fascinating, beautiful history in apples and in cider in America. Now I’m a farmer-ish and cider maker (I’m also head bartender at Broken Land, at least in normal times, and wow I miss my regulars so much!)
No three words will get me jazzed more than Greenpoint, Hudson, and apples. Naturally, we all love Greenpoint, but Hudson may be one of my favorite towns in New York. What’s it like to shuttle back and forth between these two little havens for your work?
I feel super lucky to have the best of both worlds: nature and also the city I love so much. The cidery and orchard are just outside Hudson proper on about 80 acres some friends own. There are fields, forest, a creek to swim in, other dogs for my pup to play with, and friends to lend a hand when I need them. A dream that keeps me sane. I’m usually too busy working when I’m upstate to enjoy Hudson itself, but it’s a lovely town I’m grateful to have access to.
How long has your business been around, and how has it evolved? What are the challenges and rewards?
About 5 years? It’s changed a lot. I started the business with a partner, on a different property, with the goal of opening a cider-focused bar ASAP. Now I run it solo, and last year I moved everything onto this new space where I can focus on honing my craft, growing sustainably, and keeping an eye to opening a tasting room when the time is right. I do everything: build the fence, maintain the trees, make the cider, design the labels, clean the kegs, and, now, make home deliveries. It’s a lot for one person, but I love to work hard and to create something that brings people joy. It’s also been a wonderful lesson in patience and flexibility. Growing apples and making cider is a slow process, and Mother Nature doesn’t f*ck around, you know? You have to pay attention, and roll with the punches.
Do you distribute to bars and grocery stores, or just operate on a customer delivery basis? And what’s the best way that we can support you?
I do! But obviously bar and restaurant orders have died off. The state just started allowing home delivery in response to COVID-19, so that part is very new to me.
You can support me by placing an order! My delivery zone is literally the whole city, minus Staten Island. If you like it, tell your friends (or even order a few bottles to be sent to them). I’m working on adding shipping to the rest of the state, and you can also follow me on Instagram and/or subscribe to my mailing list. If you have a shop and are interested in carrying my cider, please reach out. I’m still taking wholesale orders and can do socially distanced tastings.
We’re so proud to highlight creatives in this series, and that absolutely includes culinary ones, especially those who represent our vital small businesses. As the leader of a small business, what’s something you’d like to share with our community at this time, or wish our community knew about managing a small business?
I know it’s a treat for customers to get home delivery, but it’s also a treat for me to meet everyone face-to-face. My cider work is usually very solo. All the positive feedback has really helped buoy me as I pivot and pivot again, planning for the short and long term, whatever that may look like. I’m not naturally inclined toward salesmanship, but I’m working on letting people in more on my process. People seem to like that, and they want to help, and that feels really good. So thank you!
A string of burglaries at Greenpoint businesses continued on Friday morning with a break-in at Woops! (120 Norman Ave.).
Surveillance footage shows a man using a brick to smash the front door of Woops! on Friday morning at 4:48 a.m., but the suspect left the bakery empty handed after finding a cashless register, according to an employee who reported the incident to the NYPD. Woops! closed on March 15th following New York’s pause due to coronavirus.
On Thursday at 9:18 a.m., a man attempted to break into Broken Land (105 Franklin St.), video surveillance footage shows him walking away from the bar’s entrance after ripping off the door handle. A co-owner of the bar discovered the damage later in the morning and alerted the NYPD who are investigating.
Moments after the attempted Broken Land heist, the same man allegedly broke into Brooklyn Safehouse (120 Franklin St.) where he kicked in the front door and stole a laptop computer and an undisclosed amount of money.
Major crimes have fallen around 30% since the start of the coronavirus lock down, but burglaries in Brooklyn are up from 222 to 256 in Brooklyn this year compared with the same time-frame in 2019, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
A year ago, we were at the beginning of a five-day intolerable heat wave. Luckily, it seems we’ll only get a handful of 90°+ days this year which means more time outside drinking frozen cocktails! Boozy slushies are a bit of a trend right now and the neighborhood is full of them. It just so happens that they’re perfect for that cooling afternoon drink or to pretend you’re actually on a tropical vacation. Here are the spots happy to put a tiny umbrella in your drink. Continue reading →
I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of spring is being able to finally emerge from the dark and the cold to sit outside in the sun, preferably sipping on a nice saison and surrounded by greenery. I don’t ask for much. Luckily, Greenpoint is chock-full of great places to eat and drink outdoors, either in magical green gardens or on rooftops with stellar views. Here are a few places worth the trip.
12 Franklin Street
Good for: Gorgeous semi-panoramic rooftop views and large groups.
This Australian-themed bar features an expansive rooftop with its own bar and wooden bench tables that channel something of a summer beach vibe. Gaze across the East River to watch the sunset over the city or to ponder the Empire State Building’s color of the day. Add a Beer & Shot into the mix for $10 during happy hour, grab an Aussie burger, and you’re set. Continue reading →
Fact: the 45th President of the United States will be sworn in tomorrow, January 20th. Here are some events happening locally to dull the pain and help you cope.
Trump, Keep Out: A Planned Parenthood Benefit | Thurs. Jan. 19 | 7pm Broken Land | 105 Franklin St
Celebrate the last day of Obama’s presidency with an Inauguration Eve party! All proceeds from the bar and raffle sales during the event will be donated to Planned Parenthood. FREE. RSVP Continue reading →
* Starting Your Intimacy Revolution with Christine Long @ New Women Space (188 Woodpoint Rd) 7pm, $20, Find intimacy in new ways by cultivating closeness and connection through your work, community and self, Buy tix ♦ Olio at Idio: On Civil Disobedience, Resisting the Machine @ IDIO Gallery (976 Gran St) 7pm, $12, When a government becomes a machine that churns out injustice, it is the right and the duty of the citizen to resist the actions of that machine, to throw a spanner in its works. Talk led by Professors Michael Haltenberger and Michael Prettyman, RSVP
* Fundraiser for Oakland Ghost Ship Fire Victims @ Bar Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave) 6pm, $10-25, Film screenings of MLK JR. WAY and Remember You’re Special. All proceeds go to benefit victims of the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire, More info * Trump, Keep Out: A Planned Parenthood Benefit @ Broken Land (105 Franklin St) 7pm, FREE, Celebrate the last day of Obama’s presidency with an Inauguration Eve party. ALL PROCEEDS from bar and raffle sales during the event will be donated to Planned Parenthood, RSVP * Celebrate the End of the World @ Northern Territory (12 Franklin St) 7pm, FREE, Drink, dance & celebrate the last night of the Obama administration #comewhatmay. Here’s to 8 years of progress and growth- you’re gonna feel like shit on Friday anyways. #thankyouobama, More info Continue reading →
Crank up the heat on a cold night with some of these classics. There’s a reason people have turned to these drinks to warm-up for hundreds of winters. Step out from the cold and into one of these inviting bars for a drink that will make you want to curl up in a wool blanket or break our the bubbles to celebrate the end of 2016!
251 Bushwick Ave., East Williamsburg
Hot Toddy $11, $8 at Happy Hour M-S 5-8 p.m., all night Sun.
The “best dressed” hot toddy in Brooklyn. This holiday favorite is mixed to perfection featuring the flavors of the season. Allspice Dram, pimento bitters, lemon and honey accompany Lairds & Co. Five Star Whiskey. This cocktail is sure to warm your heart. Continue reading →
Greenpoint (and pretty much all of NYC) will be experiencing record breaking temps of almost 70 degrees over the next two days. It’s March, people. Are you ready to strip off those coats? Here are some of our favorite outdoor spots in Greenpoint where you can soak up some of that good ol’ Vitamin E.
Lobster Joint – 1073 Manhattan Ave. Open from noon every day, they’ve got a lovely New Englandy open air beer garden in the back of their seafood restaurant. Grub on a lobster roll and chill out with a beer.
If there’s one thing all Greenpointers have in common it’s that we’re reaaallly struggling with the heat right now. As I sit writing this in my sweatbox railroad apartment, I’m silently cursing the giant AC unit I dragged off the street with ‘Free…Works!!’ written across it. Yep, it works, but not well enough. I’m slowly melting, and so are all of my worldly possessions.
Fortunately there’s plenty of freshly-chilled local hideouts to escape to, some of which offer that ingenious invention: the frozen cocktail. We’ve rounded up a few our faves, and it just so happens that each of our picks has outdoor space…so it’s really up to you to choose between icy AC and scorchio sunshine!
Frozen Harrison – Enid’s
Enid’s Frozen Harrison combines tequila and grapefruit with a healthy slosh of cranberry to give us the definitive Greenpoint summer drink. It’s large and refreshing, and during happy hour costs only $5…the best deal of them all! (Happy hour is daily 4-7pm and all night on Mondays.) At other times the Harrison is $9.
WEDNESDAY 6/03 ^ Word Presents Bourbon Empire @ Ramona Bar (113 Franklin St) 6:30pm, FREE, Author Reid Mitenbuler will speak about his book and sign copies during happy hour, More info * Broken Land 2-Year Anniversary@ Broken Land (105 Franklin St) 9pm, FREE, Featuring drink specials and DJs Jackie Roman, Zachary Lipez, and Jonathan Toubin, RSVP