Taste Radio Insider Episode 99

Why Strategic Investors Love Brands That Create Systems For Success

+ Jason Barrett, Black Button Distilling


When asked about the reasons why Constellation Brands made a minority investment in his company, Black Button Distilling founder and CEO Jason Barrett specifically noted that the spirits conglomerate was motivated by “the systems [we were] building.”

Based in Rochester, N.Y., Black Button launched in 2012 and describes itself as the city’s first grain-to-glass craft distillery to open since Prohibition. Barrett, who founded Black Buttonwhen he was 24 years old, has since developed the business, which is known for its bourbon, gin and bourbon cream, into one of the most respected small-batch spirits producer in the U.S. 

Sales have doubled or tripled annually since its launch, and while the pandemic has impacted growth plans for 2020, Black Button has nevertheless persevered, the result of a foundation built on cautious spending and a thoughtful distribution strategy that has deep roots in New York State. 

In an interview included in this episode, Barrett spoke about his foray into craft spirits, how a stint in small business consulting impacted his vision for the company, why he didn’t seek outside capital to launch Black Button and why he credits an effective systems management strategy as the key reason that Constellation invested in the distillery.

In this Episode

0:34: Try The Boulevadieavery. Plus, Why Are Beer Companies Making Soda And Soda Companies Making Hard Seltzer? The episode’s hosts discussed BevNET & NOSH’s upcoming Supercharge D2C event and a recently announced panel for the event, why BevNET staff reporter Brad Avery wants a call from The Food Network, the evolution of Molson Coors into a “total beverage company,” Fuze and Core Hydration founder Lance Collins’ latest success story and why you should sample a certain Belgian chocolate spread.
16:31 Interview: Jason Barrett, Founder/CEO, Black Button Distilling — Barrett sat down with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif and spoke about becoming a new dad, how homebrewing paved the way to his passion for distilling and how his degree in political science and experience as a tax advisor have supported him as an entrepreneur. He also discussed why he credits growing up with parents who discussed business at the dinner table and how their laissez-faire approach to child-rearing was impactful as he matured into an adult, the significant upfront costs associated with opening a distillery and why he bootstrapped the company’s launch. Later, he explained why creating and maintaining relationships with executives from Constellation Brands since the early days of Black Button was instrumental in the company’s partnership with the conglomerate and why scrutinizing every cost and prudent spending have been critical components of its growth strategy.

Also Mentioned

Hoplark Hop Tea, Catalina Crunch, Huzzah!, Golden Wing, ZENWTR, Core Hydration, Topo Chico, FICKS, Lekkco, Omni Beverage