Barrett, who hails from Rochester, was experienced as a homebrewer and with breweries in Washington, D.C. when he made the decision to start his own business in his hometown. Black Button Distilling, which opened in late January on Railroad Street in Rochester, currently makes bourbon, wheat vodka, citrus gin and corn whiskey.
Black Button Distilling takes its name from Barrett's childhood experiences. His family has been in the button industry for four generations locally. Because he is color blind, Barrett was only able to identify the black buttons.
Barrett said he really enjoys explaining the difference in tastes of different products and spirits to people interested in sampling the products. In just over a month, the distillery is functioning at full capacity and Barrett is already planning to expand with equipment and personnel to meet the need of customers. Black Button Distilling sold out of moonshine twice during February, and Barrett hopes to have production - currently at 900 bottles a week - increased by the summer.
In addition to wanting his business located in his hometown, Barrett said Rochester was an excellent fit for the venture. He described it as a food smart town, well educated, passionate about local products and extremely supportive. He said Black Button Distilling's proximity to Rochester's Public Market helps bring the best of Rochester together in one location.
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