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Alternative Brews, area's first craft beer bar, announces closing

Alternative Brews, the area's first bar dedicated to craft beer, will close after 22 years.

The growth of competition in the booming local craft beer industry hasn't helped business, but in the end owner Paul Madsen just wanted to do something else, he said. "It's been 22 and a half years, six or seven days a week," he said.

Plus he got divorced, then met someone he would like to spend more time with. "I'm 58 years old, and it's time to slow down and smell the roses."

The building, at 3466 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, will become a professional office. The last day of business is Dec. 2.

A former Goldome banker, Madsen was traveling to a Batavia beverage store to buy the microbrews he loved decades ago when the store owner mentioned that a bar specializing in such beers should work in Buffalo.

At the time, Sam Adams was available in a few places, maybe Pete's Wicked, but that was it, Madsen recalled.

He started in 1995 with three taps and has grown to 19 over the years.

The last day will include music from High Horse Band, 3-6 p.m., and Big Sauce Trio from 8 p.m.-midnight. They'll be hosting musicians they've played with over the years, Madsen said.

Madsen hopes he doesn’t have to empty kegs down the drain. As part of the last day's festivities, "I'm telling people to bring their growlers Saturday night."

With his closing, and society's trend towards staying home, he hopes people will continue to get out, have a drink and converse with people. "It's been important through the ages, and I hope it doesn’t stop," Madsen said. "Be social, drink local."

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