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Grant to help Woodcock Brothers Brewing expand to Wurlitzer Building

The City of North Tonawanda will get a $516,000 grant that will allow Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co. to open a second location in an unused portion of the Wurlitzer Building.

The New York State Community Development Block Grant will go toward Woodcock's leasing and renovation of a 5,500-square-foot space in the historic former organ factory at 908 Niagara Falls Blvd. It will help pay for brewing equipment, furniture, fixtures and inventory, as well as design, planning, inventory and employee training.

The brewery will have a restaurant with a kitchen, a bar, a brew floor, an outdoor patio and seating for 120 people.

The project will also receive up to $110,000 in Excelsior Tax Credits, which are performance-based credits tied to job creation. Woodcock said it will create 35 full-time jobs over two years. The brewery employs 40 people in Wilson.

The Wurlitzer Building, a former jukebox and organ manufacturing plant, is now a multi-tenant building being reimagined as a tourist destination. It is anchored by Platter's Chocolates, an 80-year-old candy factory which relocated there from Oliver St. in 2016. Platter's has a dine-in space and access for visitors to watch candy being made. The Wurlitzer Building has retail, office, warehouse and events space, and is home to an eclectic mix of small businesses, including a kitchen and bath showroom and an archery range.

Established by street organ-maker Eugene de Kleist in 1893 with help from carousel maker Allan Herschell, the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory was bought by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. in 1908. Wurlitzer is famous for its coin-operated jukeboxes, as well as its Mighty Wurlitzer theater organs that were installed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall.

Woodcock Bros.' Wilson location, at 638 Lake St., has 20 beer varieties rotating on 12 taps and also has a canning line. Its beer is sold in kegs and cans in the Buffalo Niagara region, including at Tops and Wegmans. The company is owned by Mark Woodcock; his wife, Andrea; Timothy Woodcock; and his wife, Debbie. The Wilson location received assistance from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency in the form of a 10-year tax break.

 

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