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Craft brewery movement has no signs of slowing down in WNY

There will be several new spots to tip a craft brew in greater Buffalo in the near future.

At least a dozen new breweries or taprooms are scheduled to open before the end of 2019.

"People aren't concerned about saturation yet,” said Jason Havens, co-owner of Rusty Nickel Brewing Company in West Seneca, which will open a taproom soon in downtown Buffalo. “We are all concerned about customer experience. The best thing we can all do is support each other – which ties together the local market."

Havens and others in the craft beer manufacturing industry talk often about the camaraderie among brewery owners and workers across the region. Many of them collaborate to make seasonal or small batch beers, share equipment and best beer-making practices, and work together on a growing number of festivals and beer bashes. Many of those events raise money for local causes.

Brewers in the region also regularly collaborate with brewers from other parts of the state – sometimes even farther afield – on special beers that help spread the reputation of Buffalo-area brewing. Many talk openly about the region one day being viewed as a craft beer hotbed along the lines of Portland, Ore., Asheville, N.C., and San Diego.

Havens credits Tim Herzog, once owner and now manager of Flying Bison Brewing Company in the Larkinville District, with setting the stage – and standards – for the new Buffalo beer industry.

"We're all doing well,” Havens said, “because we're all making good beer."


BeltLine Brewery and Kitchen

  • Where: 525 Swan St.
  • Expected opening: December, with brewing beginning in early November.
  • Type of brewery or scale of production: The brewers' Facebook page has several posts on visiting local hop farms as the brewery readies for its first brews.
  • Inspiration for starting a brewery: A 19-stop rail line that moved commuters across a bustling Buffalo a century ago.

Big Inlet Brewing

  • Where: 6169 Elm Flat Road, Mayville.
  • Expected opening: Coming soon.
  • Leaders: Randy Henderson and his nephew, Brent, are owners; Mike Starks is head brewer.
  • Type of brewery: The Hendersons have a farm brewing license and have built a seven-barrel system to make small batches with local and state ingredients. The microbrewery and taproom will sit on the site of a former working farm. Plans also call for an outdoor beer garden.
  • Inspiration: The Hendersons share a longtime passion for fine beer. After getting to know Starks and tasting his award-winning craft beers, the three decided to share their passion for beer with others. “We feel that beer is ultimately about experiencing good times. We look forward to making new friends, sharing our beer, and providing that service and environment where our guests have just that – a good time," the Hendersons posted on the brewery website.

Blacksmith-themed brewery; name TBD

  • Where: 5609 and 5611 Main St., Williamsville.
  • Expected opening: Late spring 2019.
  • Leader: David Schutte, owner of Oliver’s on Delaware Avenue and the Creekview in Williamsville, bought the former Center for Plastic Surgery next door for the brewery project.
  • Type of brewery: Will accompany a 100-seat restaurant. There will be a beer garden, too.
  • Inspiration: The property used to be a blacksmith business. Schutte told News Food Editor Andrew Galarneau, "Basically, it was an opportunity I could not pass up."

Blacksmith-themed brewery rendering. (Courtesy of David Schutte)

Froth Brewing

  • Where: 700 Military Road.
  • Expected opening: November.
  • Leader: Brewer/owner Jess MacLaughlin.
  • Type of brewery: 10-barrel system will produce a variety of beers, including sours.
  • Inspiration: After living in California, McLaughlin returned home with plans to open a brewery on Hertel Avenue, but found a more suitable location in a one-story warehouse.

Hofbrahaus Buffalo rendering. (Courtesy of Kevin Townsell)


  • Where: 190 Scott St.
  • Expected opening: Mid-December.
  • Leader: Kevin Townsell, former owner of Shannon Pub, is the managing partner.
  • Type of brewery: Expected to produce 4,000 barrels annually; the taproom will serve only Hofbrauhaus beer. The beer will not be sold off-site.
  • Inspiration: Modeled after the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany, there are several franchises of the European beer hall throughout the United States. Given the fanfare over the project's progress and Hofbrauhaus' success in other markets, Townsell expects Buffalo's version to become a "destination restaurant" and bar.

The Hofbrauhaus location in mid-October. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Jamestown Brewing Company

  • Where: 119 W. Third St., Jamestown.
  • Expected opening: Coming soon.
  • Leaders: Jon McLellan and his son, Jon II, of Buffalo, have a lease-to-own arrangement at the Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center. Head brewer Matt Redpath left Woodcock Brothers Brewing in Wilson to take the same job in this new project; Carrie Gifford, who formerly worked at the Chautauqua Institute, will be head chef.
  • Type of brewery: The repurposed building will include a 20-barrel brewery in the basement, bar and restaurant on the first floor, and banquet center on the top floor. Craft beer, wine and mead will be paired with farm-to-table food from local farmers. Beers will be distributed to taprooms and the restaurant, and a canning line will be installed next summer, Jon McLellan II said.
  • Inspiration: The McLellans started homebrewing when Jon II was 16. The two have worked on the Jamestown project the last four years. “We have so many recipes and ideas between us,” Jon II said of himself, his dad and Redpath. The brewery will start with four core beers: A porter, pale ale, IPA and German pilsner. Eight other taps will rotate between seasonals, one-offs and pilot batches, and possibly a cider.

Labatt Brew House

  • Where: 79 Perry St.
  • Expected opening: November.
  • Leaders: Labatt USA owns the brewing operation. Brewmaster Ryan Brady spent the last 2½ years as an assistant in the pilot brewery at Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester, creating bottled beers that included the Smash Series.
  • Type of brewery: A 20-barrel innovation brewery and taproom in a century-old repurposed building owned by Pegula Sports & Entertainment. Labatt USA has its headquarters there, too. Read more about the plans for beer, the tasting room and the accompanying Draft Room bar.
  • Inspiration: North American Breweries owns Labatt USA. Its other holdings include Genesee, as well as Magic Hat Brewing in Burlington, Vt.; and Portland Brewing in Oregon. The goal in Buffalo is to create the next big Labatt brand, possibly an IPA.

Exterior signage is up at the Labatt Brew House. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Prosper Brewing

  • Where: 72 Webster St., North Tonawanda.
  • Expected opening: Mid-December.
  • Leaders: Kevin Whipple and Tim Berg are owners.
  • Type of brewery: Three-barrel brewhouse on one of the city’s main drags looks to serve a variety of craft beers, as well as New York State ciders and a small food menu.
  • Inspiration: Prosper Peuquet was the iconic brewmaster a century ago in the city’s only brewery, which changed hands several times in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His likeness serves as the brewery logo.

. . .


  • Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill is considering a brewery at 7790 Transit Road in Amherst, next door to its Transit restaurant, but has not officially announced it will and, if so, when it would open. Co-owner Paul Santora told The News earlier this year the new space could be used to brew the Santora’s 1927 brand, named for the year the first Santora’s restaurant opened. The brand includes an amber ale and IPA currently brewed at 12 Gates Brewing Company.
  • Meanwhile, the Village of Williamsville announced in spring 2017 it had applied for a $10 million grant to build a brewery on the Spring Street site of a former late-1800s brewery. The village had not received the grant and the announcement in August of plans for the Blacksmith-themed brewery and restaurant on Main Street may impact those plans.

. . .


Community Beer Works

  • Where: Brewery and taproom at 520 7th St. (opened in August); adding brewpub at 324 Niagara St., Niagara Falls (coming soon).
  • Leaders: Chris Smith and Ethan Cox are co-owners; Ryan Demler is director of brewing operations.
  • Type of brewery: Its first production brewery opened 2012 at 15 Lafayette Ave. on the West Side and will reopen soon, primarily as a small production brewery. The 7th Street brewery is a larger operation and has allowed CBW to expand seating, return the Iroquois beer brand to the region and serve food. The planned Falls brewpub location is about three blocks from the Rainbow Bridge.
  • Inspiration: To brew classic beer styles in the Buffalo area, fit within the personality of its neighborhoods and maintain a blue-collar attitude.

Work has since been completed at Community Beer Works' 7th Street location. (Robert Kirkham/News file photo)

Resurgence Brewing Company

  • Where: Adding second location, in the former E&B Holmes Machinery Co. factory (a cooperage) at 55 Chicago St. in the Old First Ward.
  • Expected opening: 2019
  • Leaders: Jeff Ware is the owner.
  • Type of brewery: A system big enough to grow distribution across New York State. The existing brewery at 1250 Niagara St., opened in 2015, will continue as a research and development brewing operation.
  • Inspiration: Ware and his wife were working as Sam Adams beer sales reps in Manhattan several years ago when the Orchard Park resident decided he wanted to move home and start a brewery with local investors.

Rusty Nickel Brewing Company

  • Where: Adding taproom, at 36 Broadway.
  • Expected opening: Coming soon.
  • Leaders: Jason Havens, Dave Johnson and Scott Fiege are owners.
  • Type of brewery: The farm brewing-licensed operation will supply beer made with mostly local ingredients at its 3½-year-old, 13-barrel brewery at 4350 Seneca St., West Seneca, to a new taproom in downtown Buffalo, near Lafayette Square, that shares space with a separately owned, 70-seat restaurant, Jaz & Jacks.
  • Inspiration: The farm brewing license allows those who hold them to own separate taprooms, so the latest development has been part of the business plan from the start.

Thin Man Brewery

  • Where: Shifting brewing operations to 166 Chandler St. in Black Rock.
  • Expected date: Has not been announced.
  • Leaders: Bridget Termini and Suzanne Shatzel are owners; Rudy Watkins is the head brewer.
  • Type of brewery: The current brewery at 492 Elmwood Ave. opened in September 2016. Thin Man maxed out its current production capacity of 1,500 barrels a year within 10 months of the start of brewing operations. The $5.7 million relocation is expected to quadruple production, allow for canning and open distribution across upstate New York.
  • Inspiration: The expanded brewery site is an abandoned four-story brick building owned by Rocco Termini and Michael Shatzel, the husbands of the brewery owners. Both have been inspired to reuse historic buildings – and love beer. Termini’s renovated Hotel @ the Lafayette includes a taproom, Lafayette Brewing Co.; Shatzel’s other projects include the Terrace at Delaware Park's Marcy Casino, as well as Colter Bay, Liberty Hound and Coles.

Woodcock Brothers

  • Where: Adding taproom, in the Wurlitzer Building at 908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.
  • Expected opening: March 2019.
  • Leaders: Owners are Mark Woodcock; his wife, Andrea; Tim Woodcock; and his wife, Debbie. Tim is the brewmaster.
  • Type of brewery: The brewery at 38 Lake St., Wilson, opened in 2011. That midsized, 10-barrel brewery provides beer for its taproom and restaurant there, as well as kegs for taverns. Cans of some of Woodcock Brothers beers are sold by retailers.
  • Inspiration: "When we got into brewing, there was an awareness that it would be nice to start brewing with local ingredients," Tim Woodcock said.

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