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THE STORY BEHIND BLACK BUTTON DISTILLING

Rochester's First and Finest grain-to-glass distillery since prohibition

 
Jason Barrett
 
 

Since 1922 my family has provided some of the finest men’s suit buttons available. For four generations these buttons have closed suits worn by Presidents, Popes, Kings, and Businessmen the world over. From a young age I went to work in my grandfather’s factory, but it was clear I was meant for a different path. I broke tradition and decided to make whiskey. The lessons I learned in his factory as a kid still guide me to this day; work hard, work with your hands, make your product the best on the market, and you can’t cheat time. My distillery pays homage to my grandfather and the world he knew – where real men worked hard and drank real pot distilled whiskey. 

People always ask me if it was a hard decision to start my own company. And for me it wasn’t one decision, it was a series of them. It was a driving desire to strike out on my own; to make my mark on the world. My interest in distilled spirits grew over the years and when the chance to learn the trade came along, I jumped at it. When it came time to sell my house, leave my job and move back to my hometown to start Rochester’s first grain to glass distillery since Prohibition, it seemed like destiny. How could I not take this chance, start this journey, follow this path that I had spent years crafting? My name is Jason Barrett, I started my craft distillery at 24 years old, and I love distilling. I hope you will try our small batch, grain to glass spirits and join me in raising a glass and Live Large in Small Batches.

 

 

Founded by owner and head distiller Jason Barrett in June 2012 at only 24 years old, Black Button Distilling tasting room and retail store opened to the public in January 2014, offering spirits tastings, distillery tours, craft cocktails and a unique venue to host public and private events. Every batch of world-class spirits is distilled from local NY grains, bottled, labeled, hand numbered and aged right here in Rochester. 

 

 

In good Company

In April 2017, our very own Jeff Fairbrother and Jason Barrett, in recognition of their roles in gin production, were welcomed into the Gin Guild as Warden Nominated Rectifier and Warden Rectifier respectively, the 2nd and 4th Americans to be installed in this prestigious organization. 

The Gin Guild is an international not for profit member funded gin industry body that promotes and encourages commitment to excellence in gin distillation and industry custodianship of the gin category. It was incorporated by the historic London based livery (trade) company, the Worshipful Company of Distillers, who themselves were incorporated by Royal Charter in 1638, and which has been involved in the distilling industry since that date.

 
Jason & Jeff
 
 

 

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FROM GRAIN-TO-GLASS, STRAIGHT FROM NEW YORK

As a New York State Farm Distillery, Black Button Distilling is deeply committed to crafting high quality small batch spirits with New York State grown and produced ingredients. Over 90% of our ingredients are grown or produced in New York State. At Black Button Distilling, we are dedicated to supporting New York State agriculture and the responsible stewardship of our natural environment.

We source all our corn, wheat, rye and barley locally from Edgewood Farms in Groveland, a nearly 1,600-acre farm due south of Rochester in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. We also source dairy cream for our famous Bespoke Bourbon Cream liqueur from New York State farms and our apple cider for our Apple Pie Moonshine from LynOaken Farms in Medina. We don’t just use New York State ingredients because we must. We do so, because we believe in local family farms as businesses but also because we believe in the genuine quality of New York grown ingredients. They are the foundation of the quality of Black Button’s fine small batch craft spirits. We strongly believe that great bourbon is not just made, but grown. And great high quality natural grown ingredients are paramount to making great bourbon whiskey. Sadly, New York State loses a family farm every three days. These farms are the roots of our American culture: they produce the food we eat, the milk we drink and in turn, the air we breathe. Without farms, our local economy, and indeed ourselves, would be broken. For that reason, as we continue to grow our partnerships with local farms, this Spring we’ve also opened a farm of our own - Black Button Farm & Forestry. A continuation of a lifelong dream to grow the best ingredients and make the best craft spirits, Black Button Farm & Forestry is a testament to our dedication to New York State grown agriculture

Black Button Farm & Forestry

The Spring of 2018 signals the birth of Black Button Farm & Forestry. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes on Route 32 in South Bristol, nestled between two small hills, in an area almost untouched since the glaciers carved it out of the bedrock, lies the site of Black Button Farm & Forestry. A rolling creek separates the 19 acre property into two pieces and mature oak trees grow strong and proud in the soft sunlight. It is land that epitomizes western New York’s proud farming heritage.

At the Black Button farm, we will grow juniper for gin, white oak to make our own bourbon barrels and fresh herbs and spices as well as organic honey for our cocktails. All our plants and trees will come from our good friends at Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, another local business that has long supported New York State agriculture.

The creation of Black Button Farm & Forestry is a monumental step for the Black Button Distilling mission. It’s the culmination of a lifelong dream to grow the best possible ingredients to make the finest craft spirits in New York State. As we get to work planting and harvesting, we'll update you on our progress and will invite you to enjoy the fruits (and herbs) of our labor.

 
 

An old Chinese proverb states "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today."
Thank you for helping us sow the seeds of change.