With local breweries and craft beer booming, Buffalo Bisons food service operations manager Rob Free sought a way to highlight the industry's surge with a trendy product that prompted collaboration and created a buzz.
Today, Consumers Beverages will start selling three-packs of canned local brews, pictured in the header, while Free's stadium concessions at Coca-Cola Field, as well as Pettibones Grille, will have them in stock soon as well.
A trio of three, 16-ounce, light, summer beers are included: Resurgence Brewing Company's Summer Saison, Community Beer Works' An IPA and Big Ditch Brewing Co.'s Low Bridge. Five hundred cases of the three packs, which run for $8.99 apiece (limit three per customer), have been created and are in the process of being divvied between the sales locations.
For craft-beer drinkers, the chance to try local beers side by side is appealing, but for the breweries, emphasize collaboration over competition reigns supreme.
"They are all competitors for the same business," Free explains, "but they realized the greater goal of promoting the Buffalo craft beer scene, and more importantly, working together to help promote the re-vitalization of the city as a cool place to be, and visit!"
"These are the people we can have a beer with at the end of the day and talk about the [business] things we're all dealing with," Big Ditch Brewing Co. co-founder Matt Kahn echoed.
Given the current (and temporary) volume limitations facing Community Beer Works, Kahn and Big Ditch offered to brew CBW's recipe for An IPA at its cavernous East Huron Street facility.
"We went to Community Beer Works' Ethan Cox with our business plan for advice before we opened our brewery," Kahn reflected, "so we were happy to work together with them for this [project]."
While it's not unusual for any of these three breweries to have their beer sold at Consumers or Coca-Cola Field, the limited-edition cans are distinctive in their creation and design. Mobile canning services are starting to thrive in the craft-beer industry, and We Can, one such company based out of Danville, Penn., handles the process for Buffalo's three-pack. Consumers Beverages creative director Christopher Groves designed the bright, baseball-themed cans.
Cooperation between breweries and beer vendors isn't novel. In fact, a formal partnership between the local Triple-A baseball team and the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association not only helped structure events like Buffalo Brewers Festival at Canalside, but it has further encouraged collaboration in other ways.
As you sip from the vibrant orange, green and burgundy cans, take a second to appreciate the symbiosis in Buffalo's craft-beer business.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who politely reminds you to cut the plastic rings holding the cans together to save the seagulls, at email@example.com