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Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association will promote industry through advocacy, annual events and festivals

BUFFALO, NY – The boom in the craft beer market and the opening of various craft beer breweries in the region has resulted in professionals banding together to form a new trade group to advocate on behalf of the craft beer industry – The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (BNBA).  The formation of the Association is the result of the strategic collaboration by several craft brewers and related entities to promote the growth of the craft brewing industry in the Buffalo Niagara region.

“There is a renaissance in cities across America, including Buffalo, in re-discovering the heritage of craft beer making,” said Willard Brooks, Chairman of the BNBA Board of Directors.  “Making beer locally by using local ingredients and local products was how beer historically was made in our country since colonial times.  Beer making is just going back to its natural roots and in turn is creating a new economy not only in supply chain and locally grown products, but also as a tourism draw through festivals and celebrations as well as our world class pubs that are bringing beer enthusiasts to Western New York from across the region and the country.

With twelve breweries/brewpubs open or set to open –and several in-planning–, our total regional brewery-brewpub count will increase to sixteen in 2014.  Also expected to open this year are two malt houses, Niagara Malt in Lockport and NY Craft Malt in Batavia.  According to BNBA officials, across the board growth in this sector, including an uptick in the number of beer related events, has resulted in an increased need for an organized, collaborative effort to brand and coordinate the craft brewing industry as an engine for regional economic growth and development.

The BNBA also plans to create four annual festivals to promote craft beer and beer making, one being the annual Buffalo Beer Week, a ten day celebration of Buffalo’s unique craft beer and beer-making heritage that will kick off on September 26 with the annual Brewed in Buffalo event.  Other events include the Farm to Pint Tasting at Hamburg Brewery on May 18, the Buffalo Brewers Festival at Canalside on July 18, and the monthly meet the brewer nights taking place at local pubs and eateries.

“Successful growing festivals like Buffalo Beer Week and the Battle of Lake Erie highlight how strong an impact local craft brewing has on the revitalization of Western New York,” said Brooks. “The BNBA was formed as a way to showcase Buffalo’s rich beer-making history and to stimulate further interest in the local beer industry from surrounding counties in the region, as well as Rochester and Southern Ontario.”

The craft beer industry has a significant economic development impact as it pertains to supply chain.  For example, hops are an especially labor intensive crop to raise that require farmers to hire workers, buy equipment and contract various services. Craft brewers, especially farm brewers, need prodigious amounts of locally grown hops but also malts – this has already given rise to two new malt houses and the rebirth of an industry that once literally dominated the landscape of the city of Buffalo.

In addition to skilled workers, brewers also need to purchase storage tanks, kegs, fittings, and other specialized brewing equipment. Craft brewers, who are customers of farms, also increase business for distributors, retailers, pubs, restaurants, and hotels.   There are also new brewing programs coming up in the area which will train future brewing staff for the local beer & beer-hospitality industry.

Government leaders such as New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo have recognized the positive impacts of the craft brew industry through initiatives like “TasteNY”.  The Governor and the State Legislature recently passed legislation that supports craft breweries, increases demand for locally grown farm products and expands industry related economic development and tourism.

“Legislative action such as ‘TasteNY’ further reflects the growing demand and interest in making craft breweries part of New YorkState’s many tourist attractions,” said BNBA board member Tim Herzog, and general manager of Flying Bison Brewery Company. “Harnessing the opportunity to further develop the industry through the BNBA is key to making this movement an integral part of Buffalo’s evolving economic landscape.”

It is the combination of these state and regional initiatives that have been critical in the formation of the BNBA and its mission to advocate for the craft brewing industry on behalf of the local industry and supply chain partners in Western New York.

For more information about the Association including membership please visit https://buffalobeerleague.com.