GSN Alert: Upcoming Event – Philanthropic Foodies, Syracuse, NY, July 29, 2018

Photo courtesy of John Carnessali

Everyone loves a pop-up food and beverage event! For the seventh year in a row, Philanthropic Foodies will be hosting one of Central New York’s premier culinary showcases.  Over a dozen of the area’s best chefs and restaurants will be serving samples of their amazing appetizers, main courses and desserts. But, that’s not all, you can refresh your palate between tastings with an eclectic variety of beverages featuring everything from local spirits, cocktails, wine, beer and coffee.  

Last year, we had the chance to attend the event at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, which made for a unique and fun-filled afternoon. All the attendees had the chance to stroll around the zoo, as well as go on the large patio for some welcome Syracuse sunshine. Indoors, there were several stations offering tasty treats, as well as live music and the large auction (we won a few items!).

Chef Chance Bear

One of the highlights of any event like this is to get a chance to meet and talk with the local chefs and producers of beverages. Last year we got a chance to chat with Chance Bear who has cooked at the James Beard House on four different occasions! As well, we conversed with some of the representatives from 1911 Spirits who make some very interesting apple based spirits, and local brewers from Empire Brewing & Middle Ages Brewing. We ended the evening with some coffee samples from Peaks Coffee Co.

If you are interested in trying some world-class food and beverage from the heart of New York State in a world-class setting, there is no better event to attend!

Syracuse Marriott Hotel

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, July 29 from 4:00 to 8:00p.m., at the Syracuse Marriott, 100 East Onondaga St. which was recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award. Advance sale tickets are $100 per person, or $125 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

In between sipping, sampling and socializing, attendees can also bid on silent auction offerings, many of them food-focused. For auction information go here.

Since 2012, Philanthropic Foodies has raised more than $200,000 for local nonprofits. This year’s proceeds are earmarked for the Friends of Dorothy House, a hospice house for people with AIDS, and The Shamrock Animal Fund, a 501c3 not-for-profit fund that helps pay for veterinary care for animals in need that have owners with financial limitations who reside in Syracuse and Central New York. 

GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 16

There are plenty of “blank-of-the-month” clubs out there, but this is the most unique one yet!  If you join Rochester, NY’s Black Button Distilling “WHOLE DAMN BARREL CLUB”, you will get:

  • Your name on your barrel and a commemorative picture of you with your barrel!
  • You say when it is done aging – taste it after 30 months and go from there!
  • Choose what proof you want it bottled at (our usual is 84 proof)
  • Every last drop from your barrel is yours when we bottle – Great for corporate gifting/client or employee appreciation gifts! (1 barrel ≈ 180 bottles at 84 proof!)
  • Add the finishing touch with a personalized label, making the bottles exclusively yours (i.e. your name, company name, event name or a company logo)
  • You keep the empty 30 Gallon Barrel too!

You’ll also get all of the following!

Welcome Gifts:

•  20 Person Tour & Tasting to be used one time during your membership year – makes a great birthday outing! (Rochester location)
•  FREE Black Button T-Shirt of your choice

Any Time You Visit:

•  $1 off every cocktail for you + 1 guest
•  Buy One, Get One FREE birthday cocktail
•  $5 off every 750ml bottle of our spirits purchased for you + 1 guest
•  FREE Tour for you + 4 friends any time during regular tour hours (Rochester)

Additional Exclusive Benefits:

•  Advance access to Black Button event tickets (St. Patrick’s Parade, Spirits Classes, etc.)
•  Advance access to new and specialty spirit releases (Lilac Gin anyone?)
•  Room fee waived on any Bar Takeover Event you book (Great for corporate events!)
•  Members only appreciation party (1 event planned annually)
•  ”Sip & Savor” member exclusive barrel release parties hosted by none other than owner Jason Barrett (2 events planned annually)
•  Members only coasters for you and a guest to use each time you visit

PLUS special monthly benefits just for being a member:
(redeemable in either Tasting Room during that month only)

  • January – 50% OFF all Black Button Glassware
  • February – 50% OFF a Box of Bourbon or Bourbon Cream filled gourmet chocolates
  • March – 50% OFF awesome Black Button apparel
  • April – FREE Hand-Made Spirit Infused Lip Balm
  • May – FREE Ticket to our very popular annual Moonshine Margarita Fun Run
  • June – 50% OFF Bourbon Barrel Smoker Wood Chips
  • July – 50% OFF Apple Pie Moonshine BBQ Sauce
  • August – 50% OFF Bourbon Bacon Ketchup
  • September – 50% OFF Bold Bloody Mary Mix
  • October – 25% OFF Fee Bros. Bitters
  • November – FREE Spirits Tasting for you & up to 4 friends
  • December – FREE Bourbon Cream ‘Better Than Candy’ Cane

To find out how you can join, go to: Black Button Distilling

GSN Alert: Upcoming Event – Philanthropic Foodies, Syracuse, NY, July 30, 2017

Everyone loves a pop-up food and beverage event! For the sixth year in a row, Philanthropic Foodies will be hosting one of Central New York’s premier culinary showcases.  Over a dozen of the area’s best chefs will be serving samples of some of their amazing appetizers, main courses and desserts. But, that’s not all, you can refresh your palate with a variety of beverages featuring everything from local spirits, wine, beer and coffee.  

Here are some photos from last year’s event which took place at the Sky Armory in downtown Syracuse.


Here is the list of who is participating this year:
1911 Spirits
Anthony Donofrio, Modern Malt
Brandon Gore, Modern Malt Bakeshop
Chance Bear, Lincklaen House
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars
Danny Vault, The York
DeAnna Germano, Chef4Rent
Dick Benedetto, Smoke Incorporated BBQ
Empire Brewing
Eva Zaczynski, Eva’s European Sweets
Gannon’s Ice Cream
Jason Jessmore, Aster Pantry & Parlor
Life of Reilley Distilling and Wine Co.
Luke Szabo, Scratch Farmhouse Catering
Mark Bullis, Bull and Bear Roadhouse
Matt Riddett, Empire Brewing Company
Middle Ages Brewing
Peaks Coffee Company
Pizzaiolo John Vigliotti, Peppino’s Restaurant and Catering
Sam Mondello, Vince’s Gourmet Imports
Sarah Hassler, The Stoop Kitchen
Vine & Barrel

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, July 30 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place. Advance sale tickets are $100 per person, or $125 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

In between sipping, sampling and socializing, attendees can also bid on silent auction offerings, many of them food-focused. For auction information go here.

Since 2012, Philanthropic Foodies has raised more than $200,000 for local nonprofits. This year’s proceeds are earmarked for the Friends of Dorothy House, a hospice house for people with AIDS, and GiGi’s Playhouse, a support center for people with Down syndrome and their families.

(Photos by Good Spirits News @2016)

GSN On The Road: Black Button Distilling Co.

img_1820Jason Barrett seems to have an endless supply of energy.  As the owner of a full-time distillery in Rochester, NY, he not only supervises the production and aging of the products that make up their extensive portfolio, but he also teaches a quarterly three-day intensive seminar on what it takes to get a distillery off the ground. Jason recently invited me to come experience what the classes are all about.

Starting at 9am sharp on a warm and sunny Friday morning, a group of a dozen students ranging in age from their early 20’s to well past retirement met in the tasting room for a brief overview of the weekend from Jason. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I was surprised that there were a few people who had traveled quite the distance to be here, and others had come back to take the class a second time.  This was a good indication of the quality of the information that would be imparted.

I asked student Chelsea Washburn from Philadelphia what initially drew her to becoming involved in the spirits industry.  “The cross-cultural tradition of sharing and socializing over a drink.  No matter where you travel or the background of the people you are with, chances are you all can bond over a drink.  Secondly, the craftsmanship, from vintners, brewers, to distillers and even moonshiners. The passion and knowledge these craftspeople carry is historic, cultural, agricultural, scientific, even anthropological! In five years, I hope to have my own well-established brand in the craft spirit market based out of Philadelphia.  So, watch out for the Philadelphia Whiskey Co.”

img_1864We then were walked through the distillation room and out the back door to see the massive grain silos where local NYS corn is fed into the fermentation tanks. The first story Jason told us took place in the early days of the company. He and his fellow workers would start each day full of energy, but by the evening they were completely lethargic, headachy and short of breath.  It turns out that the massive amounts of CO2 generated by the fermenting grains in the building were causing symptoms of hypercapnia, which led to realizing the immediate need for an efficient ventilation system which was promptly installed.

img_1851Once back inside the distillery, we were shown all of the equipment Jason purchased, from the pot and column stills, fermenters, and a large selection of locally made barrels which were aging a variety of products.  On one wall, of particular note a large American flag was prominently displayed.  I later learned from Jason’s father, who also works at the distillery that this was Jason’s grandfather’s flag who had passed away a few years ago.  It is obvious that family means a lot to Jason.  As he later related, his family made their fortunes in the garment button business.  Rochester had 19 button factories at the turn of the 20th century making high quality buttons for suits.  Jason’s family business is the last left in the area.  Interestingly, Jason is colorblind and was told as a child that he would only be able to make black buttons if he took over the family business (Jason’s mother Anne is the president of the company now).  This is where the distillery’s name came from.  Everywhere you look, the Black Button logo is apparent, constantly reminding Jason of his heritage.

img_1865I was surprised at how open Jason was with the information he shared during the class.  Everything from the exact recipes he uses, to the manufacturers of his equipment, along with stories of the failures of some of his first efforts and the mistakes he’s made in terms of underestimating the space needed as the company grew.  A long question and answer period followed.  What amazed me is that Jason knows everything off the top of his head.  He had no reference book or flash cards, and there were no questions that he didn’t know the answer to, or gladly share with us.  In fact, he said several times that he is willing to follow-up with everyone long after the classes are over via email to help with any questions they may have. Chelsea Washburn appreciated this greatly.  “Having Jason so openly show and share some of his methods gives one a better grasp in how to run a well-oiled small-batch distillery.”

After a quick break for lunch, there were presentations from companies that Black Button works with including filtration specialists and an insurance agent who works with distillers.  It became clear that there is an endless list of concerns from all angles to consider.  One story that struck me was of a brewer who bought a building in the southern tier of NY, filled it with all the necessary equipment and obtained his brewing license.  It was only when he was about to begin making beer that he was told that he couldn’t do it because it was a “dry” town.  Believe it or not, there are still six locales in the state where making, buying or selling alcohol is illegal.  Another interesting story was about someone who wanted to open a distillery just up the road from Jason and approached him to get the ok to go ahead.  As they talked, Jason found out that this guy had suddenly had the idea to open a distillery just a few months prior and felt he knew everything he needed to know in order to start churning out product.  He didn’t even feel the need to write a business plan.  But, after talking with Jason, he apparently reconsidered his rash idea and decided to follow another path.

img_1873The day at the distillery ended with a launch party at Good Luck, a local restaurant who had collaborated on a new whiskey with Black Button.  As attendee Chelsea Washburn remarked, “Not only is it a beautiful dram to sip on but Good Luck astutely highlighted the label in handcrafted cocktails.  The best part is that it’s such a great way to build small business relationships in the community.” After planning, distilling and aging the product, the final yield was only 42 bottles of Black Luck whiskey.  If you want to try it, you’ll have to visit Good Luck before it’s gone.  This is truly boutique distilling.  Other limited products Black Button has crafted recently have been a Lilac Gin and a Garden Gin made in conjunction with the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua.  They also have worked with O’Begley Distilling to co-create a whiskey.  Jason is always looking for new expressions to create, which keeps him constantly involved in the process.  All of this in only the past four years, and Jason himself is not yet 30 years old.  Pretty impressive for a young guy to hit the ground running.

As the evening wound down, I asked Chelsea what her three takeaways from the day were.  “First, you cannot make it in this industry yourself, you will need other’s advice and expertise.  Reaching out is easy to do with fellow distillers.  Everyone wants to help as it is such a new or rather refurbished industry.  Secondly, know your story to sell your brand.  As much as people will enjoy your product, they will remember and share your products’ story even more.  Knowing the story behind as to why you make your spirit the way you do or how it comes to taste the way it does or simply why it bears a name so dear to you.  People want to know the passion behind your spirit. Lastly, file your liquor federal taxes…ALWAYS!”

Black Button products are everywhere in the area, as I’ve discovered on several cocktail menus in the western New York region.  Of course having a wide range of spirits and liqueurs helps greatly.  They make everything from apple pie moonshine to bourbon cream, along with vodka, gin, whiskey and limited experimental editions.

Black Button Distilling • 85 Railroad Street, Rochester NY 14609 • • 585-730-4512

GSN Event Alert: July 31st – Philanthropic Foodies, Syracuse, NY

logoFounded in 2012, the goal of Philanthropic Foodies is simple – to eat, drink, and give back! Philanthropic Foodies combines a culinary showcase of talented local chefs and products from local purveyors, as well as a silent and live auction, to create a unique fundraising event that benefits multiple nonprofits within the Central New York community.

Philanthropic Foodies was born from the desire of local food enthusiasts to channel something we love to do (eat and drink) into a vehicle to give back to our community. In the past four years, Philanthropic Foodies has donated over $160,000 to six deserving and local organizations: Friends of Dorothy House, The Samaritan Center, On Point for College, Signature Music, CancerConnects and The First Tee Syracuse.

In celebration of our 5th anniversary, we will be honoring all six past charities! This year’s event will once again showcase the talents of local chefs and products from local purveyors. The goal is simple….Eat, Drink and Give Back!

“It has the appeal of a pop-up dinner, serious chefs and it’s for a good cause…
Philanthropic Foodies seems to be the real deal.” –Syracuse Guru

A minimum donation of $100 per person is requested.

Your ticket includes:

  • Incredible tastings from the area’s premier culinary talents
  • Beverage pairings at each station to enjoy a carefully selected beer, wine, or spirit
  • Direct access to local food and beverage experts
  • Extensive silent & live auctions
  • Entertainment by  top local musicians

*More than 90 percent of your ticket price goes directly back to our nonprofit organizations.

Get your tickets today!

Philanthropic Foodies is a Donor-Advised Fund established at the Central New York Community Foundation. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of nearly 700 funds. Gifts made are tax-deductible and will be formally acknowledged and receipted by the Community Foundation.