As some of you may know, I was supposed to leave for Scotland on a one way flight this coming Monday, May 16th. Unfortunately, due to my unique lifestyle of extreme sports-- skiing, skydiving, running, surfing etc., I have suffered a herniated disc in my lower back. I need to stay in my hometown of Rochester right now to get the necessary treatment. I plan to only delay my adventure for about 2-3 weeks, so please keep following the blog while I get to explore what upstate NY has to offer in the way of craft distilleries!
Just last night my father and I went and toured the Black Button Distillery (@blackbuttondistilling). In February this distillery was featured in the local Rochester newspaper. Not only have they been growing their distribution and production, but also offering education programs. These programs are offered a few times a year to help aspiring, entrepreneurial distillers understand the taxes, financial, safety, equipment etc. that need to be considered for a startup. This is unique! Through my studying and research, these kinds of programs are difficult to find. It is great to have craft distilleries mentoring aspiring business owners!
The building is an old window making facility and not too far away was a button factory on Monroe Ave. The story goes, that the owner, Jason Barrett was tasked to help organize the buttons at this button factory by color as a child and it was at this time his family found he was color blind. It then became the theme of the company to say that they could "only manufacture black buttons". This son would then go on to open the Black Button Distillery and you can probably assume where the name came from. This is a great story for the tour guides to share with visitors and it also makes a great logo! They are growing quickly and now have distribution in 12 states after just 3 years. They have bottling and labeling on site as well as grain silos right out back.
They currently have these 5 major product lines:
Moonshine + Apple Pie Moonshine
I focused on the bourbon, moonshine and Bourbon Cream. Although it is important to note that the Vodka and Gin have won multiple awards over the past 3 years.
Definitely a blend of grains, but I was very impressed having it both neat and in an old fashioned. It is made up of 60% corn, 20% wheat, 11% rye, 9% malted barley. All grains are grown in New York State. Just like my last post about Van Brunt Stillhouse in Brooklyn, it not only boasts great tax breaks, but also makes for a healthy relationship between farmers and small businesses. From what we saw and heard, this distillery has made great connections with many local farmers.
It is aged in both Minnesota and Adirondack Oak. The oak barrels come pre-charred and are currently being re-used by local breweries. It works out well that right next store is the Rohrbach Brewing Company!
As some may know very well, the upstate NY weather is either very hot and humid or very cold and dry. Their two aging rooms are not climate controlled, leaving a lot of pressure on the master distiller and frequent tastings. Barrels have been ready for bottling anytime between 12-24 months of aging.
All I have to say is this was a moonshine I was excited to drink straight and finish! It is corn whiskey and I would definitely get this as a gift for friends. Recommended to drink cold/chilled.
This was a little different. I had a lot of questions for my tour guide Cam (@camstradamus) about this one. This will blow the minds of all those Bailey's in your coffee fans. It was such a treat to finish the tour off with this tasting. Highly recommended with flavors of vanilla, caramel and fresh cream!
Overall-- awesome experience and so proud of my hometown for making a name for themselves in craft spirits. Sign up for a tour next time you are in upstate NY and ask for Cam. He was a great tour guide! https://blackbuttondistilling.com/