Rising Star Brewer Brandon Doughan of Brooklyn Kura - Biography

Brooklyn, NY

November 2020

As diners branch out into whisky and beer, sake production in Japan has gone down. Meanwhile, a brewery in Brooklyn aims to build on 1,000 years of sake-making history and grow the beverage’s American audience.

Brandon Doughan and Brian Polen met at a wedding in Japan and of course bonded over the high-quality sake. They ended up traveling on a post-wedding sake tour to sample traditional brews. They fantasized about opening their own sake company, and when they were ready, Doughan met Polen in New York, where they established Brooklyn Kura in Industry City. 

Polen, who was formerly a VP of marketing at American Express, serves as president of Brooklyn Kura while Doughan brings his background in biochemistry to lead the small brewing team. (They have a whole room for making koji.) Their partners are typically restaurants that educate guests about the products, but during COVID-19, Polen and Doughan have developed a subscription delivery model. As their craft cements its presence in Brooklyn, they host visiting sake experts, trading information just as the two did after that wedding years ago.