Black Button Distilling Announces $5 Million Expansion


October 10, 2022

Black Button Distilling lifestyle shot

Black Button Distilling, the first grain-to-glass craft spirits producer in Rochester, N.Y., since Prohibition, announced the ground breaking of a new $5 million tasting room and distillery, with a target opening date of late spring/early summer 2023.

The new location, at 1344 University Ave. in Rochester, will allow Black Button Distilling to quadruple their physical space from 5,000 sq. ft. to 28,000 sq. ft. Average annual spirits production will increase from 1,000 barrels to as much as 4,500 barrels within the first few years. And the Retail Tasting Room space will grow from 1,500 sq. ft. to 4,500 sq. ft., allowing for significantly increased seating capacity, private event space and expanded hours of operation for the public.

The move is anticipated to add nearly 20 jobs to the company within the first year, and up to 50 jobs in the years to come.

This announcement comes as Black Button Distilling celebrates its 10th year as a locally founded and owned business that continues to grow. 

“After 10 years of phenomenal growth we’re excited to enter the next phase of Black Button’s future,” said Jason Barrett, Black Button Distilling Founder/Master Distiller. “When I first opened our location on Railroad Street in 2012, I couldn’t have imagined a day when we would need more space. Then, when we expanded twice, I thought that would certainly be enough. Now, 10 years later, we once again need to increase our infrastructure to support our hard-working team and accommodate the demand for our craft spirits.”

Black Button Distilling is the story of Rochester area family businesses that span generations. Barrett’s grandfather owned a button factory in Rochester, and as a kid, Jason imagined himself running the factory one day. But Jason is colorblind. Since making only black buttons wasn’t an option, he decided to honor the values of hard work, entrepreneurship, and community that his grandfather taught him by pouring them into his passion for crafting handmade spirits. That passion has earned the distillery countless accolades, including landing on the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing companies four times in the past five years.

Now, 10 years in, Black Button spirits are going head to head with Kentucky’s finest. Over the years, Black Button Distilling has earned dozens of medals from spirit competitions across the globe, including winning Best in NY State from the 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition, while also tying for best bourbon in the same competition with a Kentucky made Bourbon.

In 2021, Black Button Distilling also received a 90-point rating by Whiskey Advocate for its Cask Strength Four Grain Bourbon, a true accomplishment for Rochester’s first bourbon produced since prohibition. Whisky Advocate gave Black Button’s Cask Strength Straight bourbon (Batch 4) 90 points, calling it “complex and layered on the nose.”

And, as one of the six founding distilleries of Empire Rye, Black Button Distilling is part of a push to bring New York State’s unique rye whiskey tradition to the world. Today, this group is committed to the Empire Rye designation and seal of authenticity, which requires the use of local grains and other standards. 

Black Button Distilling’s tasting room at 1344 University Avenue in Rochester is expected to open in the summer of 2023. Until then, the Black Button Distilling location at 85 Railroad Street will remain open.

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