Shortly after the Civil War, New York entered into a new era of thriving international trade. With the Manhattan shoreline becoming increasingly crowded, importers were in need of a new, less congested location for their ships to dock. They turned to Brooklyn, which came to be known as “The Walled City” because of the line of massive warehouses stretching along the waterfront.
Today, Empire Stores is one of only two warehouses remaining from that time. Originally built in 1869, the complex housed goods such as sugar, molasses, wool and most importantly, coffee. By 1896, 86 percent of the country’s coffee supply landed in New York Harbor, coming primarily from the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
In 1920, The Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Company acquired the Empire Stores building to be used as a packaging, refining and storage facility for sugar and coffee. It was in this building that the Arbuckle Brothers revolutionized the coffee industry with their Ariosa Blend, the first coffee to be sold roasted and in one pound bags.