As Rochester’s first grain-to-glass distillery since Prohibition, Black Button Distilling, located in the Rochester Public Market District, combines family tradition and charm with decidedly modern production and devotion to the craft liquor trend.
The huge windows in Black Button’s Tasting Room offer a look out onto its production area, which conjures up varieties of whiskey, vodka and gin. While you sip on the spirits, you have a front row seat to the machinery and process that created that spirit. The exposed brick on the front wall and the emphasis on wood throughout the room create a warm, industrial space. It represents an Urban Farm distillery personality.
Since 1922, founder and head distiller Jason Barrett’s family has provided some of the finest men’s suit buttons available (hence the name). But Jason broke tradition and decided to make whiskey, while staying true to the lessons he learned from the button factory.
When the COVID shutdown threatened to close its doors, the company adroitly shifted gears to make hand sanitizer, keeping its staff employed and assisting in the crisis response. If that isn’t cool enough, as establishments were given the OK to safely open, Black Button worked with the city to make Railroad Street a one-way street in order to make more space for distanced, outdoor seating.
The building that houses Black Button was built in 1892 as the Bartholomew Brothers Window and Door Factory. The tasting room opened in January of 2014. The builders of the space were Richard Barrett, Jim Goeke and Dave Pulhamus. It was painted by Tori Motyl and designed by Mary Anne Brocollo.