Thanks to local craft beer, the McDuffie Family now has a place to call a home. The newest Habitat home, located at 172 Hagen Street in Buffalo, is the 321st home that Habitat for Humanity Buffalo has built for deserving families to date. And this one is special because this is a House Beer Built, one funded by those who purchased Habitat Buffalo’s Craft Brew Tour Cards and all those who attended the Hammer & Ales fundraiser.

The House Beer Built initiative finds Habitat Buffalo teaming with local bars, breweries, cideries, distilleries and meaderies to raise money to build houses for those in need.

Habitat Buffalo’s Development and Communications Manager Stephanie Lawson says that breweries are the perfect partners because they have been invigorating neighborhoods and communities for years. The House Beer Built is now in its third year.

“We couldn’t find a better partner than our local brewers,” she says. “For years, brewers have been going into distressed neighborhoods, revitalizing forgotten buildings, and reinvigorating the community around them. Brewers are uplifting neighborhoods, just like we do.”

Flying Bison Brewing Owner Tim Herzog says that they are proud to support the efforts of Habitat for Humanity because of their pay it forward methodology, or, as he puts it, because it’s not a ‘hand out, it’s a hand up.’

“Flying Bison is happy to help Habitat for Humanity,” Herzog says. “Everyone needs a place to live, and the houses that Habitat revives make the community look and feel better. We like that Habitat’s efforts are not a hand out, but a hand up. The owners must work on someone else’s house before they qualify for a house. They pay their mortgage and that money goes to buying another ‘hand up.’ Stephanie and her associates make helping at Habitat a rewarding and fun experience. ”

This year’s Hammer & Ales event was forced online due to the coronavirus pandemic, which sent things into disarray as work was forced to stop on the next House Beer Built. But, as Lawson explains, due to the overwhelming support and generosity of the Western New York community, Habitat Buffalo was still able to reach their fundraising goal.

“The day after we decided to cancel Hammer & Ales, the first group of volunteers from Big Ditch began construction on The House Beer Built. Up to that point, our campaign was shaping up to be the biggest year yet. We broke ground on the house months earlier than we normally could, just a week after dedicating the house funded by last year’s campaign. When we announced that Hammers & Ales would be canceled, we were nervous we wouldn’t reach our goal – raising the funds for one whole house. I could never have imagined the outpouring of support. Because of our generous partners we have nearly hit our goal already, even without our big tasting event!”

The House Beer Built doesn’t stop with the McDuffie’s either as Habitat Buffalo is currently erecting the next House Beer Built, which will be located at 204 Woodlawn in Buffalo. The house is another rehab, and will be completed in early 2021.

Last year’s House Craft Beer Built effort raised $80,000 for a house on Manitoba Street.

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).