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Big Ditch named state's best craft brewery

Big Ditch Brewing Company took home a pair of awards from the TAP Festival in Hunter, N.Y., including the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup for Best Craft Brewery in New York State. It also won the silver medal in the strong IPA category with Deep Cut.

“We are extremely humbled and grateful to win these awards,” said Matt Kahn, president of Big Ditch Brewing Company. “While our staff has worked very hard for this, the accomplishment wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding support we’ve received from the local community.”

The TAP festival, in its 19th year, is the longest running beer and food festival in New York State. It's also the largest in New York in terms of number of brewers attending with more than 120 at this year's event.

Big Ditch entered four beers  to be judged: Deep Cut (Double IPA), Hayburner (American IPA), Towpath (Imperial Stout) and Excavator (Rye Brown Ale).

“We thought these beers had the best chance of winning,” Kahn said.

Big Ditch owners Corey Catalano, left, and Matt Kahn were recognized at the TAP Festival, plan to expand the brewery. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)

Big Ditch owners Corey Catalano, left, and Matt Kahn were recognized at the TAP Festival, plan to expand the brewery. (Kevin Wise/Special to The News)

[Read about Bidwell Wild, an experiment beer by Big Ditch]

The flavors of Deep Cut have been described as citrus, tropical and berry. “We think the emphasis on flavor and away from bitterness helps to make Deep Cut a great beer. We also use a ton of hops in this beer, which certainly helps," said Kahn.

The notable award of Best Craft Beer Brewery stems from a repertoire of beers. “I think the collection of beers we submitted for judging, and in fact most all of the beers that we make at the brewery, are - at a minimum -  solid beers,” Kahn said. Big Ditch attributes its award to a combination of brewing science knowledge, experimentation and a desire to continually improve its beer.

Big Ditch Brewing's Low Bridge hoppy ale. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Big Ditch Brewing's Low Bridge hoppy ale, one of the brewery's flagship beers. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

[Learn about the food offerings at Big Ditch]

To meet the demands of rising popularity, Big Ditch will be investing in additional brewing equipment, warehouse space and a packaging line. This will allow it to sell beer in cans around Western New York. Its current brewing capacity is about 5,000 barrels or 150,000 gallons of beer per year; the proposed expansion will triple that figure.

“We’re pleased to be increasing our investment into Buffalo’s Electric District and Western New York in order to provide more beer for our loyal customers,” said Paul Iskalo, co-founder of Big Ditch Brewing Company.

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