Made in Brooklyn: When a Borough becomes a Brand

In 1987, Steve Hindy founded a brewery.

He needed a name, so he asked Milton Glaser – the man responsible for rebranding New York – to create one.

Hindy loved it.
His investors hated it.

They feared the association with the neighbourhood would not “play outside of New York.”

The name?

Brooklyn Brewery.

Current estimated value?

$370 million.

Hindy and Glaser had struck gold: Brand Brooklyn.

Brand Brooklyn

Brand Brooklyn reflects the wider trend in the US where “Made In” has become a badge of honour. It gives people a concrete sense of place.

Customers want to feel connected to ‘a bygone golden era of US manufacturing diminished by globalisation’, says Joey Dembs, director at New York marketing agency Flamingo.

Big brands want to tap into individualism – to give the illusion of authenticity, to grow small and local.

The Brooklyn Brand stands for just this: Locally sourced produce.

But Brooklyn Bowl, a hipster hangout, bowling alley and gig venue mashup, has just launched a satellite venue in London.

With the possibility of Brand Brooklyn losing its concrete connection to the place itself, the borough’s chamber of commerce has launched a certification program.

There’s a long history of places taking legal action to protect the value of their brand identity: from Champagne in 1891* to Melton Mowbray in 2008.

It will be interesting to see whether Brand Brooklyn can maintain its credibility in the face of its increasingly global success.

If you want to broadcast your brand’s authenticity, you can start by telling people where you’re from. We’ve helped brewers, beauty brands and luxury fashion houses tell their brand story. If you want help crafting yours, email Chris.

*Under the Madrid system in 1891