Constellation Brands Buys Minority Stake in Black Button Distilling

Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in the Rochester, NY-based craft spirits maker Black Button Distilling.

The investment took place through Constellation’s venture capital group that identifies and invests in emerging brands. Recent past investments have included Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. and The Real McCoy.

Black Button will continue to manage, produce, market and sell its craft spirits, the companies say, including its Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Citrus Forward Gin, seasonal Lilac Gin and Bespoke Bourbon Cream.

Black Button was founded in 2012 by Jason Barrett. “For us to continue the growth rate we believe we are capable of, it was time to find an equity partner,” Barrett says. “But we didn’t want just any equity partner. We wanted someone who understood our business, our culture and our goals. We found that partner right in our back yard. Constellation shares our love of Western NY and they are also committed to the agricultural roots that are so important to Black Button. This partnership is great for our employees, our ownership, our farmers and our consumers because we will be able to bring more great Black Button products to our community.”

Sales have more than tripled since 2014, the company says, and in 2017 Black Button expanded and opened a tasting room and bottle shop in Buffalo, N.Y.

“As a company headquartered in the Greater Rochester region, we’re especially proud to make this investment in this local favorite,” says Constellation’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and incoming Chief Executive Officer, Bill Newlands. “Black Button has a proven track record of producing premium craft spirits that resonate with consumers and they have a variety of products that are aligned to consumer trends and fill white space within Constellation’s spirits portfolio. With our shared knowledge, experience and guidance, we will work together to help Black Button grow and expand the brands that craft spirits enthusiasts have come to know and love.”

Black Button Distilling’s spirits are currently distributed throughout New York State, in select markets in the Northeast and MidAtlantic — most notably New York, New Jersey, Maryland and DC — and can also be found in regional on- and off-premise accounts.

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