BUFFALO (WKBW) There used to be dozens of small community breweries in Buffalo, but with Prohibition and over time, they slowly dwindled. Now with the resurgence and economic redevelopment of the Queen City, locally made beer is also gaining popularity.
"Buffalo's a beer town," Matt Kahn of Big Ditch Brewing said.
And that's why, for the first time since Prohibition, the number of small craft breweries are on the rise in Buffalo.
Big Ditch Brewing on East Huron Downtown is still partly under construction, but is already brewing while working on the remainder of their brewery slash tap house.
"We have just did our first batch yesterday, so we're well on our way to supplying beer to the City of Buffalo," Kahn added.
Demand for craft beer is so high that Buffalo's oldest craft beer maker, Flying Bison, is upgrading and building an entirely new and much larger brewery. According to founder Tim Herzog, that will allow the company to "make more beer, distribute more beer, have more friends over to see and experience the brewery, do more tours, do more sampling, brew more varieties of beer."
Probably the most appropriately named new brewery, Resurgence Brewing on Niagara Street, is up and running with beers like Loganberry Wit and Sponge Candy Stout, and business is already booming.
"We've really exceeded our expectations and I think people in Buffalo are excited about craft beer and excited about new breweries opening up and we're definitely reaping the benefits of that right now," Resurgence Brewing President Jeff Ware said.
The nationwide trend of small craft brewing, helped out by new laws in New York that ease restrictions on local beer makers is now making for a foamy and successful business model.
"Even though craft beer has grown across the country, in Buffalo it's taken a bit longer to catch hold. But it's really getting hot and heavy right now," Kahn said.
"It's one of those things that the more of us get together, the more the scene grows, that's going to be a really great thing for all of us. And it's exciting to see people get excited about local beer again," Ware added.
Big Ditch will release its first line of beers within the next two months, with the tap house opening in late fall. Flying Bison hopes to open its doors by mid October, and Resurgence is already thinking expansion, brewing beers beyond just its doors.
As for an impact, in total these three breweries could be responsible for more than sixty new jobs.