Lafayette Brewing Company, an all-lager brewery housed inside of the Hotel Lafayette, has closed their doors after failing to renew their lease.

In a statement, Pearl Street General Manager Bill Casale cited a number of issues, some stemming back years, that have contributed to Lafayette Brewing’s closure. Failing to renegotiate the terms of their lease was just the final nail in the coffin.

“After 12 successful years, it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to not renew our lease at Lafayette,” Casale says. “The Pearl Street Family of companies has managed the Lafayette Brewing Company and Hotel at The Lafayette since the facility opened in 2012. We were fortunate to be a part of the renovation and rebirth of such a beautiful historic building. The first several years at Lafayette including the hotel, brewery, restaurant and banquet facilities were extremely successful and profitable. Over the last five years we have unfortunately seen a dramatic drop in business and foot traffic in the immediate area.

The problems started with the Washington Street road closure, when the street vault at the AM&A’s building collapsed and left the street closed (immediately in front of Lafayette) for nearly three years. Then the Elliott St. public parking lot behind Lafayette was eliminated for the BrayMiller Market development, thus making it much more inconvenient for our customers to find parking (especially our banquet guests). We also lost our ability to valet park efficiently without that lot and a fence that was installed on the side of our property line.

Then, of course, came COVID-19 and an almost 1 & 1/2 closure. At that point we lost much of our team due to uncertainty in the industry amongst other things. We fought hard to get out of the hole that was dug underneath us.

With PPP and RRF funding in 2021, we were able to pay off all of our debt and all of our vendors and get back to even. We were prepared to put more resources into the facility and start over. We started to build our team back but the business never returned, especially the banquet business. The area is in bad shape and we have had some security concerns over the past few years too.

We knew our lease was expiring at the end of December of 2023. We started discussions and negotiations with the landlord almost a year prior to try and reach a new deal that would be more in line with the current business. We were unfortunately unable to come to terms with a new rent that we felt would make it viable to continue and renew the lease for the brewing company and hotel.”

Originally opened in 2012 Pan-American Brewery, the brewery became Lafayette Brewing Company in 2017 and featured a number of flagship offerings such as Terminator Pale Ale and Roosevelt Red. Their 15-barrel system produces 465 gallon batches year round. The brewery transitioned to an all-lager brewery in March 2022.

Casale continues that they are hopeful to incur zero job losses with the closing with plans to shuffle employees to their other two locations, Pearl Street Grill & Brewery and Buffalo Riverworks.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to retain all of our great employees at our other two locations, including our excellent brew team of Jason, Brian and Ben,” he says. “We will continue to reinvest and grow at our other properties and continue to seek new ventures in the future. Currently, Pearl Street and Buffalo Riverworks are in great shape and we will continue to improve both locations.”

All of the restaurant and brewing equipment has been listed for sale, Casale says, with the goal to have all of the equipment removed by January 31, 2024.

The landlord is trying to find a new tenant for the restaurant and hotel, which will remain open (as of now) for a few more months in hopes that there will be a new tenant moving in.

Head brewer Jason Dunshie says that many of the lagers you’d find on tap at Lafayette Brewing will continue to be produced and will be available at Pearl Street.

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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).