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BlackBird Cider opening cider hall in Black Rock

BlackBird Cider Works has built its business into a mid-sized cider producer since opening in 2011.

Now the Niagara County cidermaker is moving to bolster its profile in the Western New York marketplace by opening a cider hall and production facility in Black Rock.

At 155 Chandler St., the former Linde Air building, BlackBird plans to open a 4,000 square foot cider-focused bar and patio. It's also opening a barrel aging and small-batch brewing facility for its New York State based products.

"We're going to have access to the space in May, and hope to be open in June," said Scott Donovan, BlackBird president.

Ciders, based on BlackBird's own apples and other New York State fruit, has been sold at its founding Barker site since 2011, Donovan said. "We're part of the Niagara Wine Trail, but we're kind of out in the middle of nowhere," he said.

But as a medium-sized producer now, distributed in six states, Donovan had plans for more.

BlackBird Black Rock will be like a beer garden, but for cider, Donovan said. "It'll have that rustic kind of feel to it, and a big patio, with three doors open to the outside."

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Donovan plans to install bocce courts, he said, and start a bocce league.

Food plans are modest, short of a full restaurant. "When we go to Chandler Street, my plan is to collaborate with some of the food trucks," he said. "We're hoping to get a basic permit and do charcuterie boards, things like that, cheese boards and maybe some sandwiches."

The hall will have walls of displays exploring the intersection of agriculture and Buffalo, Donovan said. "We want to make it educational, about Buffalo's role in agricultural products," he said. For instance, "different walls about how apples are grown, and how cider is made."

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