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Rochester

Black Button Distilling Coming To Public Market

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Rochester: Black Button Distilling Coming To Public Market
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Rochester is preparing to see its first distillery open since the days of Prohibition. Beginning this fall, a master distiller will be hand-crafting batches of spirits at Rochester's Public Market.

"I actually started home-brewing with some of my buddies from college."

Jason Barrett is ready to prove he has the know-how.

"This industry had everything I wanted, you know, making something by hand, educating people about how it's made."

After attending several distillery schools, writing up a business plan and pitching banks for loans, Barrett is preparing to open the first craft distillery in Rochester.

Black Button Distilling will make its home at the Public Market, located next to Rohrbach's Brewing Company. Once the equipment is in place, Barrett plans to use 90 percent New York State-grown products to distill gin, vodka, bourbon and whiskey.

"We can sell on site, and we can taste on site up to three one-quarter ounce tastings, so actually a thousand square feet of this space is for our tasting room, but then we will be available in all the best restaurants and liquor stores here in Rochester."

Over the past several years, New York State has eased its laws on craft brewers and micro-distillers. Legislation has allowed farm distillers to sell their liquor not only on site, but also at certain fairs and markets.

"Luckily, there were some pioneers in the craft distilling world about seven, eight years ago that got the state to make farm distilling very accessible."

Given the growth and popularity of farmers markets, Black Button Distilling plans to set up a stand at the Public Market. The owner sees it as a great way to showcase and prove his product.

"We've already gotten great support from the folks that run the market and from the other vendors, so we're just happy to be in the neighborhood."

Rohrbach's has thrived in the neighborhood for the past five years and just recently won a tax relief package from the county to renovate its building.

"It's all about jobs. We've added significantly to what we're doing. We're in a very popular market. Craft beer is really growing. We want to seize the moment. We want to expand our distribution."

Barrett is hoping for the same success when he opens Black Button Distilling in the fall.

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