Inside W&P Design's Bustling Brooklyn Cocktail Lab
Epiphanies shared with friends over a few too many drinks typically reveal themselves the following day to be little less than booze-fueled enthusiasm over a mediocre idea. But occasionally, as with college buddies Eric Prum and Josh Williams, that one mint-julep-aided product idea—in this case for a mason jar cocktail shaker—turns into a prototype, then becomes a runaway hit, gets stocked by Urban Outfitters and West Elm, and creates the foundation upon which a dream business is built.
A few weeks ago, we met up with Williams and Prum in the newly-upgraded Brooklyn headquarters for the company they co-founded, W&P Design, to see what all goes into concepting and developing the many clever and interesting products (See: the ingenious Carry-On Cocktail Kit) that have followed The Mason Shaker. Turns out they have much more up their sleeves.
The spacious light-soaked Bushwick loft, where Prum, Williams, and their growing team all work out of, embodies the energetic spirit of an upstart creative agency. They've captured the essence and vibe of an inviting workshop with white walls, several handsome accents hand-fashioned from reclaimed wood, and a sprawling floor-to-wall chalkboard. Throw in East River and Manhattan skyline views, and it's the perfect recipe to get the creative juices flowing.
The space is broken up into two main sections, with the above serving as the informal showroom, bar, in-house photo studio, and occasional event area.
Which, frankly, is a lot. (More on that in a bit).
The other section of their office is reserved mostly for business. The two co-founders (pictured above, that's Williams in the middle and Prum on the right) can comfortably take meetings with their Virginia-based manufacturing team, drum up new product ideas, build relationships with major liquor brands, and even help design new product lines for luxury brands who've taken to their aesthetic, including major players like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table.
Let's be honest though; this is the fun side.
After plying us with a few delicious cocktails made with some of their flavorful, infused bourbons (in their own line of glassware, of course), Williams and Prum walked us through the catalog of goods they've been working on these last few years.
There's the Cocktail Tote, designed to hold the Shaker, muddler, and jigger (all of which are included), making it the go-to to-go drink kit when you're just too old to be brown bagging it.
If you've been jonesing to barrel-age your own booze, you could track down a full-sized charred oak barrel, set it up at home, and wait a long-ass time until its ready to sip. Or, you could rapidly age a single bottle at a time with their Barrel Aged Spirits Kit, which includes two charred honeycombed barrel staves that deliver the same full flavor in 10-15 days.
Parlaying their drool-worthy Instagram account and blog into a book, Shake is chock-full of unique and creative recipes that the two have developed over the years. Required reading for anyone looking to step up their seasonal cocktail game.
This past summer they teamed up with Boylan Bottling on a premium tonic, and trust us, you've not tasted a proper G&T until you've mixed one with this remarkably flavorful stuff. To give it a try you can either order online, or, if you're in NYC, ask a bartender to pull out the good stuff—it's being stocked by more and more of the finest cocktail dens in the city.
If you want to make that G&T even more special, why not distill some of the requisite botanical booze yourself with their Homemade Gin Kit? It comes complete with everything you'll need to transform a generic bottle of vodka into a delicious batch of gin in 36 hours. Magical.
The DIY bitters kit, that they developed with help from their expert pals at Hella Bitter Craft, gives you even more control over the flavor profiles of your custom cocktails.
Behold, the Carry-On Cocktail Kit. *Cue choir of singing angels*
On deck is a special spouted lid they've been perfecting for months which makes it easier than ever to create and pour DIY infusions. Keep an eye out for it, along with their forthcoming book on the subject.
Until then, you might as well start by stocking up on their current lineup to help you make it through the impending winter. Who knows, with a little luck (and ample alcohol), you may even craft the blueprints to your own dream gig.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He's thrilled to no longer be making his own gin in a bathtub.