After bringing in more than $1 million in sales for local small businesses in 2020, the Shop 716 initiative makes its return for 2021.

And this year the program is bigger and better than ever with over 650 businesses taking part, including a number of breweries, meaderies, bottles shops and more.

If you don’t know how it works, you simply purchase a Shop 716 e-gift card for $50 or more and get a bonus $50 gift card free. Yes, it’s really that easy. Just for participating you will get free money to then pump back into our local economy. It’s really a win-win.

You can then spend those gift cards at breweries like Belt Line Brewery, Hofbrauhaus, Lilly Belle Meads, Community Beer Works, Flying Bison Brewing, Pearl Street Brewery, Rusty Nickel Brewing, Pressure Drop Brewing and Resurgence Brewing, as well as bottle shops like Aurora Brew Works and Fattey Beer Co. and beer bars like Pizza Plant and Butera’s. You can even use them to pay for your homebrew supplies at Niagara Tradition Home Beer & Wine Supplies.

Deputy Erie County Executive Maria Whyte said, “When you buy local you are supporting small business owners and their families, keeping dollars here in our community and building a stronger local economy. Let’s come together as a community right now to skip the big box retailers and online outlets and instead focus on the local businesses that are all around us and need us to return to them so Erie County can continue its comeback story.”

A.J. Baynes, CEO/President of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, added, “I am thrilled County Executive Mark Poloncarz has once again dedicated a portion of the American Rescue Funds towards the SHOP716 e-gift card program through a matching fund to assist small businesses further while we work through the COVID-19 pandemic.  There is no better time to reboot this program than during National Small Business Week and the celebration of our county’s Bicentennial.  The success of this program in 2020 led to nearly $1.2 million dollars in sales of SHOP716 e-gift card sales and over 700 merchants participating, which is sure to grow in 2021, only furthering the success of the small business community as we work towards our comeback.”

The Shop 716 kickoff is being held in conjunction with National Small Business Week, held from Sept. 12-18, which spotlights and celebrates American small business entrepreneurs.

Patrick Kaler, President & CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara said, “Money spent locally is money earned locally. Buying local invigorates our small businesses and invests in our economy. This marketing campaign aims to bring local residents back to Erie County’s incredible restaurants, retail shops and cultural attractions. Shop local and let’s get back to our comeback!”

For more information, and to purchase yours, visit

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, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).