Distillery to Quadruple in Size, Increase Spirits Production Capacity Tenfold, and Add 20 Jobs in the First Year
On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, Black Button Distilling, the first grain-to-glass craft spirits producer in Rochester, N.Y. since prohibition, announced the groundbreaking of a new tasting room and distillery at 1344 University Ave., Rochester, with a target opening date of late spring/early summer 2023.
Elected officials from local, state and regional offices joined Black Button Distilling at a press conference to announce the groundbreaking. Rochester Mayor Malik Evans; Congressman Joseph Morelle; New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney; County Executive Adam Bello; Chris Zeltmann, Regional Director for Senator Chuck Schumer; and Bob Duffy, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce all presented remarks at the conference.
The new location 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 of spirits per year to as much as 4,500 barrels in the first few years. And the 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 for the public. This 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 their 10th year as a proud locally founded and owned business that continues to grow in the heart of Rochester. “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.”
Barrett continued: “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.”
At the press conference, 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.”
Joe Morelle remarked: “The entrepreneur spirit is really embodied here at Black Button Distilling. 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.” He continued: “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.”
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. 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.” He added: “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.
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.” He added “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.”
Adam Bello also congratulated Jason and the Black Button team on the expansion and the company’s commitment to Rochester.
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 1344 University Avenue will remain open.
To see additional media coverage of this event, follow the links below:
WXXI AM/FM: More Local News section on homepage of WXXI https://www.wxxinews.org
Democrat & Chronicle (paywalled – accessible if you are subscriber) https://www.democratandchronicle.com/restricted/?return=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.democratandchronicle.com%2Fstory%2Fmoney%2Fbusiness%2F2022%2F10%2F04%2Fblack-button-distilling-expanding-moving-to-new-location-in-rochester%2F69531080007%2F