Big Ditch Brewing Co. plans to open a second location in Cheektowaga at the site of the former Clarion Hotel by late next year.
The craft brewing company, which has its flagship site at 55 E. Huron St. in downtown Buffalo, said Thursday it plans to open a 105,000-square-foot facility at 6700 Transit Road, just north of the Depew/Lockport Thruway exit.
The new facility will have more than three times the brewing capacity of Big Ditch's downtown site – 50,000 barrels annually, compared with 15,000 barrels a year downtown – and will be one of the biggest craft brewing locations in the region. About half of the new facility will be for a taproom and dining area, with the other half devoted to offices and brewing facilities.
“Demand for our beer continues to grow and more opportunities exist for expanded sales and distribution," said Matt Kahn, a Big Ditch co-founder. "That’s why this site expansion is so timely and necessary, as it will allow us to really ramp-up production.”
The site is owned by local developer Iskalo Development, whose president and CEO, Paul Iskalo, also is one of Big Ditch's co-founders. Iskalo purchased nearly five acres of land, encompassing the former hotel and neighboring used-car property, for $3.5 million last June.
“The Transit Road project site is exceptional real estate,” Iskalo said. “We acted quickly to secure the property when it first became available, as we could see beyond its current appearance to envision its outstanding potential.”
With the downtown brewery running at full capacity, Kahn said adding the larger brewing facility will allow Big Ditch to focus the city brewery more on the development of new craft beers.
The company is seeking tax breaks for the project from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and also needs approvals from the Town of Cheektowaga. Big Ditch officials said whether the project moves forward or not will depend on it receiving the tax breaks and required municipal approvals. If that happens, construction could begin by mid-to-late summer.