Make room at the bar – two new craft breweries are coming to Western New York.
12 Gates Brewing Co. is readying an 8,000-square-foot facility at 80 Earhart Drive in Williamsville in hopes of opening to the public this fall.
The brewery will have a 2,000-square-foot tap room where it will serve its beer as well as snacks and other light fare. It will seat 99 people.
But the focus is definitely on production. When it launches, the facility will be capable of producing 12,000 barrels per year. 12 Gates expects to take three years to scale up to that quantity of demand. But the operation is configured in such a way that an additional 6,000-barrel capacity could be added with relatively short notice.
“We want to make a lot of great beer for a lot of people,” said Bill Campbell, one of the 10 partners behind the brewery. “We want people to be able to find this on tap in every bar in Buffalo.”
It has six products on its roster: West Coast IPA, which is made with grapefruit peel and has notes of citrus; New Zealand IPA, with lime, tangelo and stonefruit flavors; Session IPA, which is described as a “day drinking” beer and has earthy notes along with lime, orange and orchard notes; Espresso Porter, which uses cold-brewed, micro-roasted coffee from Rochester’s Glen Edith Roasters; Witbier, which uses orange peel and coriander; and Summer Saison, which is described as a traditional French Saison combined with New Zealand Rakau hops and dry-hopped with Northwest Pacific Coast Citra hops.
It is also working on English, Australian and Belgian IPAs. By volume, the beers range from 4.8 percent to 7.1 percent alcohol. It plans to have a core menu of three beers, with two others rotating out each quarter.
Once the brand is established, there are also plans to can the product.
Campbell is also founder of the New Buffalo Brewing Co. That beer was contract-brewed in Saratoga and based in Clarence, but is not being produced right now. Campbell may eventually begin brewing beer under that label again at 12 Gates.
Another brewery, West Shore Brewing Co., hopes to be up and running by the end of the year.
Owner Josh Dziomba is currently looking at commercial production space in Clarence. Until he settles on a permanent facility, he will be producing beer using equipment at 12 Gates. He is working on scaling his recipes up to 30-barrel batches and will launch a Kickstarter fund next month.
“This has been my dream for so long,” the home brewer said.
Right now, Dziomba is perfecting recipes for his Historic Rail Pale Ale, Black Diamond Stout, Storm King Limited IPA and Rising Phoenix Cream Ale. It will focus on the pale ale, then add other varieties.
West Shore is named after the West Shore Railroad, from which his great-grandfather retired as a senior engineer. West Shore was the main railroad serving the Central Terminal. He plans to have each beer tap handcrafted from old, repurposed railroad ties.
“I don’t think Buffalo can get enough beer,” he said.
The latest additions to the craft beer community bring the number of local microbreweries to more than a dozen.
Developer Rocco Termini and restaurateur Mike Shatzel are planning a brewery and restaurant in the space on Elmwood Avenue vacated by Toro Tapas Bar and Faherty’s. In May, Rusty Nickel Brewing Co. opened in West Seneca. It has a 900-square-foot tasting room and an 1,800-square-foot biergarten.
They join Community Beer Works on Lafayette Avenue, Resurgence Brewing Co. on Niagara Street, Pan-American Grill & Brewery at Hotel Lafayette, Hamburg Brewing Co. in Hamburg, Big Ditch Brewing Co. on East Huron Street, Barker Brewing, Old First Ward Brewing Co. at Gene McCarthy’s on Hamburg Street, Woodcock Brothers Brewery in Wilson, Flying Bison Brewing Co. on Seneca Street and Pearl Street Grill & Brewery on Pearl Street.
There is also a brewery at Gordon Biersch, a corporate chain restaurant at Walden Galleria.
When Flying Bison Brewing Co. opened 15 years ago, it was the region’s only standalone brewery, while cities like Portland, Ore., had about a dozen. Today, Portland has more than 100 brewing licenses within the city limits, and the industry has exploded around the country.
Flying Bison founder Tim Herzog said there is enough beer consumed in the Buffalo Niagara market to support that kind of brewing boom, and it could happen if consumers are willing to reach for local beers instead of national brands.
“They already buy that volume of beer in Labatt’s and Budweiser and Coors. Will that big number flip from big beer to craft beer? It did in Portland, it has in Vermont, in San Diego, in Seattle,” he said. “Will it happen in Buffalo? That’s the will of the consumer and that’s the unforeseeable part.”
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