On July 28, Buffalo’s coolest one-car garage, Buffalo Brewing Company, are set to celebrate their second year of keeping the lights on and the beer flowing, which is quite the accomplishment for a one-man operation, namely Brewer/Owner/Beertender/Jack-Of-All-Trades John Domres, who admits that while getting to this point hasn’t been the smoothest journey, it has been worth every bump in the road.
“We aren’t a multimillion dollar operation with a huge restaurant and 50 employees,” Domres says. “We are a one-man show from soup to nuts and I think people need to understand that this is an operation that was bootstrapped by one guy and his wife, not a millionaire. We earned our stake in this market with blood, sweat and lots of tears. It hasn’t been easy on me or my family, but like I was always told the best things in life aren’t free and I am willing to lay it all on the line day in and day out to make this thing a success. I think as the Buffalo beer market matures we hope we can differentiate ourselves with that simple motto. Life as the underdog? We are of this city, by this city and it really is a place with Good Neighbors and truly Great Beer, not just from us but Buffalo as a whole.”
The brewery, which opened its doors on July 30, 2016 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, has accomplished a lot during their first two years. They upgraded production capacity from 2 to 5 barrels, reconfigured their taproom to add more seating, added an authentic cask beer engine and have upgraded their ‘Shatio’ (their self-professed ‘Shitty Patio’) to a full-blown beer garden complete with plenty of seating (Domres says room for roughly 40), picnic tables, custom made keg tables and wooden Adirondack chairs, all housed under a giant shade sail.
So much hard work has been done to get to this point, so now it’s time to celebrate on July 28 (12-8pm). The party will feature live music from The Voice contestant Amanda Lee Peers (3:30-6:30pm), food trucks (O’Briens Farm Fresh Kitchen 12-4pm, Loose Cannon 4-8pm) and a trio of special beer releases – 1825 Triple Dry Hopped Session IPA (El Dorado, Amarillo, Azacca, Idaho 7 & Citra hops), 1817 Triple Dry Hopped DIPA (Chinook, Simcoe, Galaxy, Citra & Mosaic) & 2017 1813 Imperial Porter. There will be special raffles all day long for prizes such as free crowlers for a year (3 pack of crowlers each month for 12 months), a lighted Buffalo Brewing Company sign (one of only three in the US) and a Buffalo Sabres pre-party at the brewery (includes a sheet pizza and 20 pints). Tickets for the raffles are $5 for five tickets, $10 for 15 or $20 for 30. Special limited edition t-shirts made for the occasion will also be for sale ($20).
Looking back, Domres views their initial remodel after 15 months as a high water mark because it could not have been possible without some level of success in the first place. He also says that all of the relationships he has made along the way are what he is most proud of.
“I think it would be the remodel in 15 month after opening, showing that this business is successful and the people of Buffalo are reacting to what I am brewing,” he says of his proudest moment from the past two years. “It makes me proud to see this company grow, not only in volume, but with more employees and more impact in the WNY beer scene. I have always viewed us as the long shot, or the underdog, which is why I feel we couldn’t have a better name for our brewery, I mean c’mon isn’t our city the ultimate underdog and long shot?”
“Our first anniversary was really special! Seeing all the relationships we have built over the past year and see them coming to fruition was really awesome! I get to go to work every day doing what I love and support my family doing it. That’s really special.”
Domres says that the goal in the future is to establish a bigger foothold in Western New York bars and restaurants with increased distribution and to grow their operation, which includes a bigger and better headquarters. In short, he wants everyone to see a hell of a lot more of Buffalo Brewing Company in the coming years. He plans to add bigger tanks to the brewery starting next year to keep up with current demand.
“I think you will see BBC expand its footprint in WNY we now have great distribution and we are seeing beer appear in more bars and restaurants, which is what I want,” he says. “Get bigger to have an impact but not too huge where we lose what makes this place special, the beer. I think we will be putting in bigger tanks in 2019 again to help keep up with 1910 [Pilsner] and 1842 [Vienna Lager]. Of course packaging is important but we feel we need larger tanks to take advantage of that.”
And in case you were wondering, the traditional gifts f or a second anniversary are cotton or china. Gifts are optional of course. For more information on the event, click here.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.