In response to the shortage of hand sanitizer caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Rochester, NY based distillery Black Button Distilling, one of the top five craft distilleries in the USA, began manufacturing ethanol-based hand sanitizer for Rochester-area hospitals, doctor’s offices and other at-risk communities last month. Due to increased demand, Black Button Distilling will temporarily reopen their Buffalo Tasting Room (149 Swan St.) every Saturday in May from noon to 5 p.m. beginning on May 2nd, to allow for contact-free curbside pick-up of hand sanitizer and spirits.To date, a quarter of a million bottles of Black Button Distilling’s hand sanitizer have gone to over 600 nursing homes and doctors offices, 275 farmers, 20 fire departments, school systems, the US Army, the US Postal Service, and the temporary hospital at the Javits Center, among others. Most of the bottles have been purchased by those in need in NY, but some have been shipped as far as Texas, Louisiana and Wisconsin. Black Button Distilling is now the largest producer of hand sanitizer in the state.
“We are uniquely qualified to safely handle and bottle ethanol-based hand sanitizer, and we have an extensive network of contacts to bring bottles, labels, labor, and ingredients to bear,” said Jason Barrett, Black Button Distilling President and Master Distiller. “It is our pleasure to offer a product, in these unprecedented times, that helps keep the Buffalo community and surrounding regions safe.”
Barrett added that the turnaround time to learn a new set of federal regulations and retool a major production plant and teams of employees in order to make a food grade product for the first time was extremely quick – a mere 48 hours. “Our machines had to be modified, new processes had to be created, team members trained and our licenses have to be checked with relevant state and federal authorities,” he said. “We will continue working around the clock to help as many as we can.”
All orders of hand sanitizer and spirits must be placed online prior to arrival at the Buffalo Tasting Room.
Separately, the Black Button Distilling Buffalo Tasting Room is offering limited service in the form curb-side pick-up for spirits and specialty cocktail kits. Black Button Distilling spirits are also available in locally-owned and operated liquor stores. Black Button encourages consumers to support locally owned liquor stores and buy locally made spirits.