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Last Friday, we traveled to the creative epicenter of Brooklyn’s food scene: the Pfizer building. Off the Flushing Avenue stop in South Williamsburg, the borough’s unofficial food incubator is no secret despite its nondescript residence in the pharmaceutical company’s former world headquarters. Let us tell you that what you may have already heard about this space is true: the Pfizer building is indisputably alight and growing with dozens of local food and drink businesses.
We’ve written about this space before, but on the eve of its second birthday, we revisited the building to see how things have developed. There is still a dominant start-up atmosphere, but the facility has obviously solidified itself as a culinary center with Kombucha Brooklyn brewing on one floor, Village Fishmonger processing fresh catch on another and Delaney Barbecue smoking its meat in a shipping crate in the parking lot. Liddabit Sweets hand-wraps their confections while overlooking a skyline view of Manhattan and People’s Pops hand-picks each piece of fruit that they will eventually use. Beloved McClure’s is even bottling up their pickles, bloody mary mix and other preserves within the Pfizer walls. These and many other businesses’ close quarters foster an ongoing internal dialogue, while local delivery services like Good Eggs and Quinciple (with HQs that are also in the Pfizer building) help bring the fruits of these labors and collaborations to the public.
As Amy Cortese summed up in her 2012 article, “the spacious Pfizer… with its built-in loading docks, ample parking and industrial electrical wiring—may be the biggest game-changer [for Brooklyn’s most established entrepreneurs].” Beyond its practicality though, it also seems to be a small batch food and drink entrepreneur’s dream community. Opportunities for collaboration and support appear to be everywhere.
Although we visited during the usually hurried week before Christmas, there are hardly any signs that this innovative space is slowing down. There is still plenty of room for this productive hive to grow with new businesses (not all of them food or drink related) consistently moving in. With such a convivial and active community, we look forward to seeing what happens in their third year.
Curious to learn more about what it takes to launch a food business these days? Cortese describes how food and drink entrepreneurs “raise dough” thanks the the developing crowdfunding economy in November-December 2012 issue of Edible Manhattan.