Flying Bison Brewing Co. stopped making beer earlier this month at its longtime Ontario Street home, and it is closing the doors to its retail shop July 26, all in preparation for its move into new, larger space in the Larkin District sometime in September.
The company brewed up extra beer in the spring and early summer to make sure its supermarket and restaurant customers would have enough Rusty Chain and Aviator Red to get them through the summer.
Customers who buy kegs at the retail shop will be out of luck for about six weeks, but Flying Bison founder Tim Herzog said he believes it will be worth the wait once the new brewery and retail store opens in late summer.
“They’re going to love the new building,” Herzog said Wednesday.
Flying Bison is leaving its original space at 491 Ontario St. after 14 years because the new location will allow the company to expand its production capacity from 3,200 barrels to 10,000 barrels and add a tasting room to its walk-up operation.
“We’ve been constrained by the size of this building,” Herzog said.
The $2.5 million project included tearing down a crumbling, cinder block building at 840 Seneca St. and constructing a 12,500-square-foot, metal-panel building in its place. The 2,000-square-foot tasting room and retail store is far bigger than the 80-square-foot shop at the current site.
Flying Bison had sought a $500,000 grant from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council to support the project, but the company’s application was turned down. The company did receive $372,500 in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.
Flying Bison, which launched the craft brewing revival in the city when it opened its doors in 2000, stopped brewing beer at the Ontario Street site July 3 after ramping up production to meet the summertime needs of the taverns, grocery stores and other customers who serve its beer.
The retail store will close at 4 p.m. July 26, and Herzog hopes to reopen at the new location in early September. Construction at the site began in the spring and the new building is almost fully enclosed, he said Wednesday.
Flying Bison, now owned by FX Matt Brewing Co. of Utica, has four full-time employees and will move into the new facility with six full-time workers, with the possibility of hiring more in the near future, Herzog said.