Black Button Distilling - Groundbreaking, 1344 University Avenue, Rochester, NY

Black Button Distilling in Rochester, New York was the first distillery to operate in “The Flour City” since Prohibition. Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary since its founding in 2012 the distillery has broken ground on a major expansion project.

Black Button Distillery has announced a $5 million expansion project that will quadruple its size and increase production capacity ten-fold.

“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.”

“The best part about this move is that it is happening right here in the city we love, Rochester, New York. We have received tremendous support from Rochesterians over the past decade and look forward to welcoming our guests into our new home on University Ave. in the summer of 2023.”

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The expansion will include the following.

  • The new location will quadruple floor space from 5,000 sq. ft. to 28,000 sq. ft.
  • Average annual spirits production will increase from 1,000 barrels of spirits per year to as much as 4,500 barrels in the first few years.
  • Retail Tasting Room space will grow from 1,500 sq. ft. to 4,500 sq., allowing for significantly increased seating capacity, private event space and expanded hours of operation.
  • The expansion will add nearly 20 jobs to the company within the first year, and up to 50 jobs in the years to come.

At the press conference, Rochester Mayor Evans remarked: “Jason and Black Button Distilling are the manifestation of the next level that we want to take Rochester. This company has for the last ten years been operating like gangbusters out of Railroad Street, and the fact that they are going to relocate here to this spot shows that Rochester is a city that continues to be on the move. But it is a city on the move because of individuals and businesses that occupy it.” 

“The entrepreneur spirit is really embodied here at Black Button Distilling,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “For a long time, Rochester was known for brewing. It’s really ten years ago that you opened the first distillery in Rochester since prohibition. It’s really remarkable to have come so far in the ten years to be bursting at the seams. We’re delighted that you’re staying in the city, in a great location, in a great neighborhood. And I may get in trouble for this when I go back to D.C., but you can go toe-to-toe with any distillery in Kentucky. We’re so excited for your continued success.”

Relocating the Distillery Required a Change to New York State Law

NY Senator Jeremy Cooney noted that a State Liquor Authority law from 1933 requires legislation in order to move a distillery from one facility to another along with the distillery’s state permit.

“It required us passing a law at the state level specifically for Black Button and we were delighted to carry that legislation in the state Senate, along with my college Assembly member Harry Bronson,” explained Cooney. “We figured it out together, we got it done, we passed the law. We are so thrilled that you’re choosing to be here and staying the city of Rochester. This is the best of what government does and we’re very proud to support Jason and the entire Black Button Distilling team.”

On behalf of Senator Schumer, Chris Zelttmann congratulated Barrett and “his ever-expanding team who’ve done an amazing job bringing the first distillery since prohibition to Rochester.” He noted that Senator Schumer has visited the Railroad Street facility a couple of times. “Looking forward to your continued growth at this great new facility here on University,” said Zeltmann.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy remarked on Black Button Distilling’s pivot from spirits to sanitizer at the start of the pandemic in 2020. “When the pandemic hit two years ago, this man and his team pivoted from creating a great product, to shipping 335,000 bottles of hand sanitizer,” said Duffy. “This great team did a phenomenal job, a great public health job…that speaks to the heart of Jason and his great Black Button team. Very proud of this expansion and I’m looking forward to it.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello also congratulated Jason and the Black Button team on the expansion and the company’s commitment to Rochester.

Barret is a 3rd Generation Entrepreneur

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.

Black Button Distilling is a grain-to-glass licensed New York State Farm Distillery that uses nearly 100% New York State grown ingredients that come from within 50 miles of the distillery.

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. Black Button’s spirits are available at its current location, in liquor stores throughout New York State and online.

Related Story
Constellation Brands Invests in its own Backyard with Minority Investment in Black Button Distilling

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