Let’s all raise a pint at Community Beer Works, because thanks to the 2014 Craft New York Act, now we can.
Due to the recently enacted law, passed last November, which not only removed and reduced fees and regulations much to the benefit of small brewers, those breweries are no longer limited to serving only 4-ounce samples and can now sell their wares by the bottle or by the pint. So yes, the next time you walk through that bright green door of CBW you can now enjoy a tall and frosty pint of your favorite brewery offering.
CBW head brewer Rudy Watkins says that since the Craft New York Act was signed into law, the brewery has seen increased foot traffic in addition to increased sales.
“Selling beer by the pint was something we always wanted to do but it wasn’t something we ever expected to be able to do in our current location, but the new law is awesome and allows us to do so,” Watkins says. “We have definitely seen an uptick in people coming to the brewery, both in terms of people coming in for growler fills and certainly in people who are coming for a pint. It used to be a pretty big bummer when people would come in and want to order beer but we’d have to tell them no. Now we no longer have to tell them that, so that’s pretty cool. Pint sales are going real well. People are digging it and while we don’t have a fancy space, we have really good beer and I think that makes up for our lack of ambiance. It’s going as well as we could have hoped it would be going.”
There will also be a cask available most weeks. Thus far the brewery has offered casks of The Whale, Duality (with Galaxy and Mosaic hops), Double Dry Hopped the IPA with Galaxy hops and Mint Affective Disorder (Stout Affective Disorder with mint). Watkins says the brewery implemented their cask program out of necessity because, as Rudy puts it, there are not many places in the city to enjoy cask beer.
“I dig cask beer and always have. I really got into cask beer because of Bar Volo up in Toronto, who started doing a cask beer festival a few years ago, which now is the biggest cask festival in North America. There are very limited cask options in Buffalo outside of Mr. Goodbar and Pizza Plant. I didn’t know how busy we would be so I just figured ‘why not, let’s throw a cask out.’ It’s fun.”
While expansion is something that has always been discussed as Watkins points out, you can pump the brakes on anything substantial happening anytime soon because he says the Craft New York Act didn’t speed up their plan or process in any way.
“Expansion is always an ongoing conversation but this new law hasn’t necessarily sped that up. As much sprucing up as we do to our current space, we realize that while it’s the kind of place I like to hang out and have a beer, it’s not exactly the space everyone wants to come hang out and drink at. We recognized before that we needed a nicer space to sell beer and this is kind of driving it home even more.”
With an increased capacity to sell beer at the brewery, expect Watkins and the rest of the CBW brew team to take more chances in terms of beer styles they brew. Just don’t call it ‘taking chances,’ because Rudy isn’t exactly fond of that phrase.
“Being able to sell pints now offers an interesting opportunity and now it makes it way more realistic for me to brew a 10 or 15 gallon batch of a whole bunch of things that I’m messing around with because we can now sell that entirely out of the brewery. It does increase my ability to play around with different styles and it does encourage me to always have some brewery exclusive stuff in addition to the cask. We can do all kinds of fun stuff now.”
Watkins says that the Craft New York Act is ‘pretty awesome’ and a ‘wonderful’ thing for the city of Buffalo, not only because you can now enjoy a pint of your favorite local beer at your favorite local brewery, but because of the increased sense of community that comes along with it.
“When you’re drinking local beer you’re drinking fresh beer and when you’re drinking it at the brewery you’re drinking beer as fresh as possible. I love the idea of people being able to walk into their local brewery and be able to meet the people who actually make the beer. I appreciate the increased sense of community that comes out of it because it’s the opposite of some big national corporation where there’s just some Joe Schmo who is the manager and everyone else works for minimum wage. It’s the people who are totally involved in that company and in the production of that beer and you’re interacting with them and they know more than anyone else about that beer and they can talk to you and listen to you.”
Community Beer Work is located at 15 Lafayette Ave, Buffalo. For more information, visit www.communitybeerworks.com.