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Thin Man expansion will allow brewery to sell to supermarkets

Thin Man Brewery is getting a $1.7 million low-interest loan through an affiliate of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to help finance a $5.4 million project to relocate the craft brewery to a larger facility that will be part of a business incubator on Chandler Street.

The loan will help Thin Man Brewery, owned by Bridget Termini and Suzanne Shatzel, to buy equipment that will increase the craft brewer's production capacity and also add its own canning line.

The addition of the canning line and the expanded capacity will allow Thin Man, which currently can only sell its beer in kegs or growlers, to expand its markets by selling its beer in supermarkets across upstate New York and into Pennsylvania. Thin Man has been negotiating agreements with distributors T.J. Sheehan to distribute its beer in markets west of Syracuse and with Remarkable Liquids for markets east of Syracuse.

The expanded brewery site will be located at 166 Chandler St., an abandoned four-story brick building that developers Rocco Termini and Michael Shatzel, the husbands of the brewery business owners, plan to convert into a second business incubator on Chandler Street.

The project will build a 10,000-square-foot steel building that will be attached to the existing 40,000-square-foot structure. The steel building, with 30-foot ceilings, will contain Thin Man's brewing equipment, while the canning line, storage and cooling facilities will be housed within the existing building. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, Rocco Termini said.

Thin Man's existing site on Elmwood Avenue, which opened in September 2016, has developed more than 20 different varieties of beer and can produce up to 1,500 barrels of beer each year. Thin Man, which sells its beer to 40 bars and restaurants in the Buffalo Niagara region and 20 others in Rochester, reached its production capacity within 10 months of opening.

With the expansion, Thin Man executives said they expect to capitalize on the growing popularity of craft beer, allowing the brewery to quadruple its sales to 6,000 barrels of beer, with two-thirds of its sales coming from canned beer and one-third from kegs.

"This industry still has room to grow," said Gerald Manhard, the chief lending officer at the Buffalo and Erie County Regional Development Corp., the IDA affiliate that is providing the loan to Thin Man.

The loan, which will carry a 4 percent interest rate over a nine-year term, is part of a financing package that includes $3.6 million in financing from Five Star Bank and $1.1 million in funding from the project's four principals.

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