Our beer scene is facing its greatest challenge since Prohibition as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, forcing breweries nationwide to shutter their taprooms. The Buffalo-Niagara region, which features over 40 craft breweries, cideries and meaderies, each of which employ local people, pay local taxes, and, in many ways, serve as the hub for their local communities, is not immune.

Curbside pickups, home delivery and to-go beer sales have become the new normal as breweries have had to find new, safe and convenient ways to provide beer to their customers.  A complete list of available to-go options from local breweries can be found here.

Beer is a true market mover for our local economy. The Buffalo-Niagara brewing community employs over 2,100 people, pays more than $127 million in local wages, generates $485 million in regional economic impact and donates to countless charities, according to the latest data from the Brewers Association, a national non-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.

“The ‘Drink Local’ movement advocates for local breweries because they are upstanding members of their community that pay taxes, employ our citizens, and are generally interested in making our community a better place,” Big Ditch Brewing President Matt Kahn says. “The current coronavirus crisis, more than anything in our recent past, threatens the ‘Drink Local’ movement. It might be the single biggest threat to drinking local since Prohibition. If you believe not just in the ‘Drink Local’ movement, but in the entire craft beer movement, please support our local breweries the best you can during this crisis. We believe that if Western New Yorkers purchased exclusively local beer during this crisis, it would severely minimize the impact on our local breweries, and in turn, our community.”

Now more than ever, it’s time to turn to local, because when you spend your dollars locally, your money stays local. When you opt for micro over macro and local over domestic, you’re helping to create jobs in our region.

“When walking into your local grocery or convenience store, purchase with a purpose,” John Cimperman, founder of 42 North Brewing adds. “Rather than that 30-pack of macro beer, think about grabbing a variety of local breweries beer. With that, the money and the jobs stay in Buffalo.”

Please continue to drink local so that we have breweries to go to when the world gets back to normal. Use the hashtags #drinklocal and #buffalostrong when posting photos of you and your friends enjoying local beer on social media. Supporting local breweries has never been more important. Our beer community is stronger than this and together we will get through it.