Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It really brings out the best in people. Spending time with family and friends, great food and, of course, great drinks! I hope everyone enjoyed it and is looking forward to New Year’s celebrations!

Once again, I haven’t posted in several weeks. Things have been extremely busy since getting back from Afghanistan. As of yesterday, I am no longer on active duty with the Air Force. I am now a reservist with the 914th at Niagara Falls! That also means that today is my first day working ‘full time’ with New Buffalo Brewing.

We have done a lot in the last month, but we haven’t talked about it much. We set up a small lab in Clarence, and are currently dialing in on what we think will be our first four beers.  We are also working on a Kickstarter Campaign, which is a huge project. The support we receive from donors will make the difference between opening this spring and pushing off for several more months.

I want to talk about the lab in today’s post. It’s small, with a Brew Magic as our system, six half-barrel fermenters, and room for only one and a half barrels of finished beer. We are producing all the beer we need to have ready between now and April on this nano- of nano systems! You can imagine space will become an issue.

The plan is as follows: We are going to brew six beers between January 25th and March 10th. We aren’t publicizing the names yet, but we will have a brown ale, bitters, APA, and IPA. Our last two are still wild cards. We have two dry stout variants, a sweet stout and a porter. As much as I like the sweet stout, I think it’s on the chopping block. Many people we have talked to have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, and we want to make sure we are making something everyone can enjoy.

So where is this beer going? We have a couple of big things in the pipe. First, we want to be able to enter all our beers into the Amber Waves of Grain on March 10th.  Second, we need to have samples for the distributors and the bank to try. But I’m sure most people are interested in our the tastings…

We are planning four events to go with our Kickstarter campaign, three in Buffalo and one in Rochester. We’ll be sure to give everyone a big heads up once we have the locations nailed down. So far we have one place approved and three in the works.

So watch for an active blog again, and I will be updating the main site often over the next month or so as we get ready to announce our ‘official’ beers. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back to Buffalo

Just a quick post after nearly 9 months of silence. I'm back from Afghanistan and have a tone of things to update on this blog as we'll as the website. Look forward to new posts!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Greetings from Afghanistan

I haven’t posted in a long time on this. It was my original intention to try and get a weekly post up. Clearly that did work out. Since the last post I was deployed to Afghanistan and have been here nearly two months already with another six to go. My job over her is a strange one; I work alone traveling around the country. It must be similar to being traveling salesmen from the 50s. Save the cool car and sweet suits. In any case things have been very busy.
A quick rundown is as follows; Hired Brewer Jimmy Base. Jimmy has since produced an English Mild with chocolate malt and an English Bitters. These have been dropped off to Mrs. Louise Galuski for distro to a bunch of people who have helped New Buffalo from the start. We have a survey attached with it so we can get an idea of what people think.  After I post this I need to write some sort of intro letter for that. Sadly I’m unable to sample any of the beer since I’m over here.
We’re still looking at buildings. The old brewery packaging building on Fillmore has peaked my interest and I hope to take a look at it. It’s not in the area I would have liked to set up at all, but its tasting room could be cleaned up and a fairly interesting day trip for people.
Our other project is we need to start looking at Kickstarter allot closer. I don’t personally know anyone who works in internet video’s so I’ve sort of hit a stopping point on that.  We’re looking to do some work with Custom Brewcrafters and I’d like to bank roll it via kickstarter and have a series of ‘release’ parties leading up to our equipment being put in.
I doubt I’m ever going to have much time over here for the extra stuff which is too bad but it is what it is. Thank you all for following our build up.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What does a Buffalo Drink?

More work is getting done n the last week. We have started collection data from Buffalo Bar’s on what it is people are drinking. Hopefully we can get an honest look at what kind of beers people are buying. Its one of those hard things in Craft Brewing. You get allot of false positives from things with a ton of awards and then find you sell hardly any of it. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout is a great example, a couple hundred barrels a year for that amazing brew! Over the next month we’ll get some on the ground information and see what people are really buying and use that to adjust our offerings. It’s not to say we’re not going to do what we want. Statistically most people are drinking Bud Light, we’re not making Bud Light. Period. Since you didn’t read the period as ‘period’ I thought I’d write it out for you. Point being please tell us what beers your buying and what beers you want to buy. It’s important for us to make what Buffalo demands.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We have A Brewer

This week we have brought on two more contracted people onto the New Buffalo Team. Jimmy Bass and Jon Downing, of Buffalo News Fame. Jimmy is a prior Marine and I think he will fit in with the rest of the group. (3 out of 8 players are vets).

Jimmy is developing some beers for use while I’ll be in Afghanistan under the mentorship of Jon. This is a very big deal for New Buffalo since Jimmy is training to be a ‘real’ brewer. Not to knock my home brew creations or that of any other home brewer but there is a distinct difference between a home brewer and the formally trained. Jon Downing made introductions to New Buffalo Brewing and I think we’re well on our way. Bringing on Jon and already having Tim we now have a combined 60 years and 180 breweries worth of experience.

I was also contacted to use the New Buffalo Brewing logo in an art project. 26 painting about buffalo each with one letter. They are going to be shown Nov 2nd I think. Sadly I will be unable to be there for the display but we we’re invited to do a beer tasting. I really want to pursue that if possible. I wrote over to custom Beer Crafters to see what it would cost to do a 10bbl run.  While in Nov we’ll still be 6-7 months from producing ourselves I think it would be good to at least get some beer into the hands of the people. It would also let us spread those kegs out over 2 months or so and hit up a few tastings. 

With Jimmy and Jon on board we have the how part of New Buffalo locked in pretty well. The two remaining questions are what and where. As we said in the last post we effectively abandoned the building we had a couple months sunk into and are looking anew.  Putting that aside I’m focused on the what.

On the main page we posted most of my experimental brews for the year and a half. Jimmy is going to redo at least two of them into something that can be scaled up and start creating new brews. Statically I know what we should do, and IPA (20% market share) and a Pale Ale (18%) market share. With the assort packs, I’d safely toss in another 7% . (Assortments and Seasonals made up just over 20%). These are two styles I’m really not interested in doing. There are allot of each on the market, it’s a crowded space and there so overdone. The thing I found the most reveling in the top 15 styles, not a single black beer made it.  These happen to be some of my favorite beers. So it begs the question do we enter the fray with our own Pale and IPA or do we try to seize a niche market? 

I’m sure we can get allot of insight from Tim and Jon on the topic. Point being the other big ones with Amber larger, meaning most craft beer drinkers are still looking for a fairly pale, crystal clear beer. Bitter seems to be the name of the game for the last 10 years.

We have a little time yet, but I’d love to hear from beer drinkers what they want.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Business in Buffalo

Allot was accomplished while back in Buffalo over break. Some of it was already mentioned on facebook but this is where I can do some less official ranting.

So what I want to talk about is doing business in Buffalo. I’m sure allot of people have heard horror stories about working with in the city limits. I know for years people don’t me, don’t even bother if you’re not in the old boys club you can’t get anywhere in the city.  My experience was completely the opposite.

We had narrowed our search into the Black Rock area. I think it’s really an area on the up and up. The people there are really passionate about the neighborhood and eager for business to come back. The success of the black rock bar and kitchen and delish are sort of the test beds. As Chippewa seems to be  kicking out the college crowd there is going to need to be somewhere for all those older college students to go. I’m not saying Black Rock should open clubs and go crazy, just that older crowd is going to be looking for somewhere new to go and that could be black rock without a problem. Elmwood can be a bit ‘high end’ and Buff State is right across the river. Honestly Amherst is going to be where it’s at.

I’ve had the pleasure to bounce around the country for the last couple of years. My position in the Air Force requires allot of traveling form base to base, and I’ve found the same formula in all the ‘up and coming’ urban places is the same.

Provide a service or good that’s 100% better at 50% more cost. It’s what Craft Beer is all about, but it’s also what the whole urban movement seems to be able.  When I visit other cities and find something I think  could be a knock-out in Buffalo I write it down or grab a menu. Sadly for all the great ideas there is only so much money, but the formal is the same.

Chef’s in Manhattan KS is one of the business restaurants I’ve ever been in. It costs about 50% more then Denny’s but when you get Salmon Eggs Benedict, the $5 extra over a grand slam seems like nothing. I’m not saying I’ve stumbled upon the Holy  Grail or anything. I’m just finding that it seems to be true across the whole of the United States. It might the ‘Europeanization’ of America.  That’s a different topic so I’ll get back to Buffalo.

Where I wanted to get was armed with this formal and some really impressive growth numbers from Craft Beer the Councilmen Joe Golombek was willing to sit down for almost 2 hours with us, from that we got an audience with the City Office of Strategic Planning, Department of Labor, Tonawanda BOA, NYSBDC, SBA, ECIDC, NYSIDC. I’m missing once person from that list so I apologize. Point being they we’re great to sit down with, tell them what we want to do, and offer some suggestions on how to go about it. I didn’t run into some brick wall or have to cow tow to anyone to get this. I grew up 25 miles outside of the city, I went to School in Rochester. While Buffalo is my city, its not like I have a network. No Doubt I’m developing one, and the other companies we work with have been paramount to that.

Allot of reasons and things like the $1,000,000,000 that state is talking about I honestly don’t think is going to have nearly the effect it could have if it was $1 thousand million dollar grants or 10,000 $100,000 grants. The things about doing business in NYS being hard then other states.  That’s absolutely true, the taxes are terrible, the bureaucracy is enormous, and the law suits plentiful. Despite all that Government workers are really trying to work around it and with it to get Buffalo back on top.

Point being is Buffalo wants to grow, and the real growth is going to be by small business making an investment in the city, living here working here making that lifelong commitment to the area. There isn’t going to be a hand out from the government to get you started. It’s going to be with the help of people in Buffalo and on your own labors. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about starting to do