Buffalo Brewing Company owner John Domres has named the 2023 Emerging Preservationist Awardee from Preservation Buffalo Niagara for his work to preserve and renovate the former Schreiber Brewery building, located at 662 Fillmore Avenue, on the city’s east side.
Domres and company officially acquired the former Schreiber Brewing Company in 2021, but the wheels were in motion long before that. In 2019, Buffalo Brewing was awarded $516,000 through Empire State Development. This award was funded as part of the Buffalo Billion II.
“I think it’s really awesome to receive this award, especially from an organization outside the beer industry,” Domres says. “This award helps codify the risk that myself, family and business are undertaking to save a very important historic site in Western New York. I do appreciate the recognition for this project however; the success is only measured by the end result, which is a fully operational brewing operation with retail and restaurant. Having the building restored and stabilized will be the true award. We’ve certainly had some small success in our first two years of stewardship. The importance of the award to me is that other groups, organizations and people support our decision to undertake a project. We are seeing some amazing breweries come online in the past few years; however none of them are in an old brewery. This project is a game changer to the East Side and Broadway Fillmore.”
Once completed, the complex will house the brewery’s production facility, tasting room and restaurant, the Buffalo Brewseum in the old Schreiber offices, and warehousing for Domres’ other business, a local brewing tank importer, Ideal Brew Systems, Inc. The plan is to cease operations at their current Myrtle Ave. facility and move entirely to the Schreiber property once it is ready to welcome customers.
“These spaces truly help connect us back to Buffalo’s first golden age, when the city was considered one of the great brewing centers of this nation,” Domres adds of the former home of Schreiber Brewing Company. “It saddens me to see the condition of the property devolve so drastically in the subsequent years since I first laid eyes on it. Watching it be stripped of key historical items including its’ historical murals is one of the hardest things to come to terms with, although I know that if they hadn’t been removed, they would’ve ultimately been destroyed during the building’s deterioration. It is my hope that they will someday be returned to their original home where they belong, so the people of Buffalo can once again enjoy them in the intended way, in the intended space and understand that drinking locally brewed beer is not a new trend at all.”
The Preservation Awards is an annual event that recognizes and honors preservation projects in the Buffalo-Niagara Region. The awardees are individuals, companies, or places that use the built environment of the past to grow and move our communities into a more inclusive and sustainable future.
“John Domres, owner of Buffalo Brewing Company, has an admiration and drive for historic preservation, which began in 2014 when he brought life back into an 1890s former foundry at 314 Myrtle Avenue, transforming it into the company’s first brewery,” Preservation Buffalo Niagara says. “Upon outgrowing the space, John set his sights on the former Schreiber Brewery at 662 Fillmore Avenue. In 2021 he started working on rehabbing the long-vacant building, and in October of 2022, he brewed the first beer on the site in 72 years. With only the first phase of the rehabilitation completed, and more projects on the horizon, we raise a glass to his work in preservation and revitalization on Buffalo’s East Side.”
The 2023 Preservation Award Ceremony will be held May 18 at the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center. You can purchase tickets here.
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the 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 email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).