The Rochester, NY distillery uses locally grown grains to craft its latest spirit.

By Cari Jorgensen

“Good whiskey is grown and great grains is the place to start.” – Jason Barrett, Black Button Distilling Owner/Head Distiller

That seems to be the motto of Black Button Distilling as they release their latest product, Four Grain Bourbon. Calling it a true grain to glass product, the New York-based distillery chose varieties of grains from a farm in Groveland, NY. The goal was to ensure the bourbon had maximum flavor. The new bourbon is made up of 60% corn, 20% wheat, 11% barley, 9% rye and a hint of spice.

The chosen grains were ground, then mashed, fermented, distilled and aged in American white oak barrels “for as long as necessary to make great tasting bourbon,” Barrett said. “So we are constantly tasting and working the barrels to develop optimal flavor. And when that flavor is just right, when each barrel is ready, we find the right blend to call our own. And that’s how we get Black Button Four Grain Bourbon.”

Barrett opened Black Button Distilling because of bourbon.

“Bourbon Manhattans were my grandfather’s drink. Every family dinner I would watch him pop the ice in the glass, measure two pours of bourbon and a portion of sweet vermouth into the glass. A quick stir, the color would change and it was back to the table to sit and sip, to relax and enjoy the company of our family. His glass was at hand for toasts at birthdays, Christmas and the Fourth of July,” he said, according to the Black Button Distilling website. “I’ve taken up my grandfather’s ritual and it’s evolved as I’ve aged. My interest in distilled spirits grew over the years and when the chance to learn to distill came along, I jumped at it. When it came time to sell my house, leave my job and move back to my hometown to start Rochester’s first grain to glass distillery since prohibition, it seemed like destiny. How could I not take this chance, start this journey, follow this path that I had spent years crafting? People always ask me if it was a hard decision to start my own company. And for me it wasn’t one decision, it was a series of them. It was a driving desire to strike out on my own. To make my mark on the world.”

Four Grain Bourbon is aged between 14 and 26 months. A 750ml bottle costs $49.99. It is available at fine liquor stores, restaurants and distributors throughout New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.