The year was 1930, the height of the Great Depression, when my great-grandparents welcomed their youngest child and only daughter, Ellen Rose, into the world. She was one of eight children helping her parents keep The Nortz House in Belfort, NY. The family-run hotel and saloon was in a tiny, rural, northern New York town so remote that the kids went to school two towns over and often got snowed in. Ellen left her small town, married a Rochester-born WWII veteran and raised six of her own children. She also helped her husband run the family button business. Thirty years ago, they welcomed their oldest grandson into this world… little did they know that he would grow up to make liquor, and name his distillery after their button factory and a fun family story.
Many years ago The Nortz House passed out of my family’s hands, but it is still a bar, now called The Belfort Inn – and was recently purchased by a cousin of mine several times removed. Today I have learned that they proudly serve Black Button products; imagine how small of a world it is! The very building where my grandmother was born, the bar she helped keep as a girl, now serves her grandson’s liquor. If you ever happen by the little town of Belfort, NY, please do stop in and give pause to the men and women whose time has come and gone and whose efforts helped shape the world we live in today.
I am so proud of the family of Black Button employees, a total of fifty-six incredible souls, dedicated to bringing hand crafted spirits to our local communities. I am also forever grateful for my family, whose work ethic, dedication, and values shaped my upbringing. I have the privilege to be the face of Black Button Distilling, but this movement was started long before me and will continue long after. It’s true what they say – I stand on the shoulders of giants and I stand taller because of them.
Jason Barrett – President, Black Button Distilling