In the most respectful of ways, by "Kid" we mean "Young Distilling Wizard", because at just 27 years old, Jason Barrett just may be a distilling prodigy. He has already accomplished what many of us dream of doing in our careers - work for ourselves and run a successful business. But it's not Jason alone - he has a dedicated team of experts behind him that support the operation. And it doesn't stop there - Black Button Distilling has allowed Jason & Team to attract a most loyal following, rub elbows with some of New York's most powerful decision makers, develop award winning products, and produce cool, crafty drinks, merchandise, and experiences that benefit the Rochester community - and beyond.
In case you didn't know, haven't heard, or haven't experienced Rochester's first grain-to-glass distillery since Prohibition, here are 10 Ways This Kid is Killin' It in our city.
1. Best Spirit Award
No, we're not talking about a spirit award in cheerleading, a consolation prize given to the someone for just showing up...this is a top-winning award from "The Oscars" of The Classic for their Citrus Forward Gin. In case you missed it, Citrus Forward was also named "The Official Gin of Summer" by Food & Beverage Magazine and earned a Bronze Medal at the American Crafts Spirits Association ceremony earlier in the year. There are plenty of cocktail recipes that have been shared on Black Button's site and elsewhere...try them before this summer comes to an end because they will self-destruct...just kidding, that's a little over-dramatic.
2, 3, 4. Crafty New Products
These guys are good - I mean, REAL good. With a full line of products that include their signature bourbon, a couple of vodkas, gin, and moonshine (you NEED to try the Apple-Pie Moonshine!), Black Button is keeping it fresh with tasty new libations to keep us all on our toes. 2. On Black Friday 2014, Black Button released a special "little barrel" bourbon that aged 4-months; 3. By May 1st, lilac petals and botanicals were mixed in to make a special, limited-run Gin; 4. And by August 28th, the newest product, Bespoke Bourbon Cream, will be released. Calling it similar in concept to an Irish Cream, this thicker concoction will be perfect for the cooler weather ahead, to be used in coffee, cocktails, or as a stand-alone drink.
5. Rapid Expansion
This past April, two 15-ton grain silos, another still, and a couple of additional fermenters were installed at the production facility on 85 Railroad Street. This was done to meet demand for its products, only 14-months into its existence at the time. Demand has been so strong that the original 1,800 bottles of goods produced each week is projected to reach close to double that by year end - and they have already more than doubled its full-time staff since opening.
6. Meet the Senator
How much pull do you have to have to get a senior United States Senator to come visit your start-up? Well, apparently quite a bit of potential for growth, producing jobs, and aiding in urban revitalization - all under the Black Button roof. Senator Schumer was in town earlier this year to back Jason and Black Button's efforts to request an in increase funding for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), essentially to help them and companies like them grow much quicker. I'd drink to that!
7, 8. Share the Trade Secrets
You know how most businesses want to safely guard all their secrets and don't want you to know a thing? Not so with Black Button. In fact, Jason and Team offer monthly 7. Master Distilling courses and regular 8. 3-day Distilling courses to spread the knowledge. These guys must be confident in themselves and their business to do this. From early on, we've enjoyed how Black Button has operated under a policy of collaboration with local farms, vendors, and other businesses to help build up the Rochester community.
9. And Speaking of Collaboration...
Jason has spearheaded the creation of the Rochester Craft Beverage Trail, a mapping of some of the best local craft beverage makers in and around the Rochester Region. This Beverage Trail serves to raise awareness in our community of craft wines, beers, and of course, liquors made by some very talented makers - right in our own backyard. Want to know more about this Trail? Join Black Button and the Rhinos at the very first Rochester Beverage Trail Tasting Event on September 12th for tastes, live music, and finishing off with a soccer game.
10. For the Public, in the Public
What else can we say about Jason & Team? I mean, they really have done a ton of work to make things happen in their warehouse, in their industry, and as we see it, most importantly, their neighborhood. The Public Market Neighborhood has been boosted by the presence of Black Button Distilling that has drawn thousands of visitors since opening that wouldn't have otherwise seen the area. The coolness factor of Black Button gives people who are not normally used to visiting an old, industrial style area a chance to see a different side of our city....and for that, we thank you.
Jason loves a good bourbon every now and again. But two standouts from Black Button: Apple Pie Moonshine and the Maple Syrup. They need to have another pancake breakfast soon. Check out more @theRochesteriat or Facebook.