Black Button Distillery is Innovating The Game
Black Button’s distillery has been around for over a decade. Since they opened, they’ve been providing whiskey enthusiasts with a taste of honest-to-goodness grain-to-glass whiskey. It’s given people a true taste of New York whiskey and the unique properties it offers. They’ve actually gathered quite the following. So much so that they have to expand to a new facility this year.
However, for Black Button Distilling, being craft doesn’t mean you have to choose between creating great whiskey and innovating the game. For them, they’ve found how to do both. They’ve maintained their focus on making high-quality whiskey, but that certainly hasn’t stopped them from working to create new and exciting whiskies for people to enjoy.
Firstly, they made their pre-prohibition style whiskey, a throwback to how Rochester, New York produced whiskey before prohibition shuttered over ninety-eight percent of distilleries in the United States. Then, they released their first experimental collection. One that combined bourbon whiskey and rye into a delicious and distinctive offering. However, they’re upping the game once more in pursuit of something unique and delicious.
Black Button Distilling worked in conjunction with the world-renowned Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to create a sonic-aged whiskey. It was announced on February 15, 2023, at Eastman Theater in Rochester, NY.
“Composing and performing a great piece of music is not unlike producing and carefully aging a great bourbon,” said Barrett. Both take time, both take great care and practice, and both produce something worthy of a standing ovation. Black Button Distilling decided to meld both great arts through an experimental process known as sonic aging.”
Sonic aging requires playing a piece of music at a volume that vibrates the barrel, agitating the whiskey inside. This changes the way in which the whiskey interacts with the barrel on a molecular level, giving it a unique flavor and consistency. The piece of music chosen was Beethoven’s Egmont Overture as played by RPO at a concert benefiting Ukraine. They selected it for it’s prominent base and highs to give it a distinctive aging process.
If you want to learn more about their sonic barrel aging project, you can do so by clicking here.
The Cost of Experimentation
Whiskey is an expensive and time-consuming business. And there’s a cost associated with experimentation. From the cost of the ingredients and the time distilling, to the space to age and the time to age it, there are layers upon layers of expenses that can be extremely prohibitive for craft distilleries to try new things.
However, that hasn’t stopped Black Button Distilling from investing in themselves and their pursuit of innovation. They’ve decided to adopt these expenses in pursuit of some truly unique spirits for their community to enjoy.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.