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Community Beer Works: The Blog

Can you feel the love?

Hello, World.

We obviously just got the blog up and running, and there will be many tweaks, redesigns, and so forth to come, I am sure.  But, you have to start somewhere, and so here is where we start.  Post One, 600 words.  So, what to start yakkin’ about, anyway?

We might have beenBuffalo Beer Works,” because after all, we are from Buffalo, and we’re all of us quite proudly so.  But we ended up going for a community identity… one might wonder why, and I thought it’d make for a good intro topic, as it does allow us to present the broader outlines of our business concept.

Obviously, we’ll be making beer, so I’ll start by describing our concept in that domain.  The most critical point here is small-scale.  In the last couple years, a number of breweries nation-wide (but generally in fairly progressive locations like the PacNW) have opened that fix production at a self-described “nano” (or sometimes “pico”) level- anywhere from 10 gallons to 5bbl brewhouses.  For reference, a barrel (bbl) is 31 US gallons,  and this range is where we’re aiming to be as well.  Or plan has us opening with a 1bbl system, but also immediately organizing the drive to raise capital for a 3 or 5 bbl facility, there to remain until year 5 or so, and perhaps indefinitely.

Why so small?  Well, the main reason is so that we can remain interactive, nimble, and patron-oriented, as much as is possible for an industrial process (and brewing at the multiple-barrel level most certainly has to be.)  We are born of homebrewing, like the American craft-beer movement was in the first place, over thirty years ago.  We want to run a brewery that reflects that kind of passion, and creativity, and ability to follow a muse.   More than that, we’d like our customers to have some input into the beer we brew- directly, not just via their wallets.  Heck, we originally wanted to be a Co-op, but the NYS State Liquor Authority was not too keen on the concept.  Still, we hope to operate as much like one still as the law will allow, at least in the sense of letting consumers have some input into the beers.  We’re in the process of figuring out all the creative ways to do that (while still running a consistent and profitable business.)

So much for “Beer Works” portion of the program, and to some extent the “Community” part, too.  However, there are a number of other ways in which we want to work with and within our community.  Chiefly, we want to run a business with en ethos that puts ‘doing good’ up there with ‘making money’.  So, we’re going to find ways to serve both purposes wherever possible, by forming partnerships with local individuals and organizations.

A good example, and just one of many we have generated, would be to consider what we’ll do with some of our waste.  In brewing, one of the big leftovers is your spent grains- essentially malted barley husks.  Many breweries have relationships with farmers who will use the spent grain as either feed or fertilizer or both, and we intend to do likewise.   In our case, we’d like to see it get funneled through an organization like Grassroots Gardens or the M.A.P. in order to directly benefit the community where we live and operate.  Closing the loops, if you will, and in the smallest way possible.  Of course, we’ll also want to source things as locally as possible, and keep our distribution footprint on the small side, and all of those local-ish ideas as well.

So, that’ll stand pat as some kind of an opening statement.  A blog is a work in progress, after all, so I’m curious as to where this post goes when I finish this part of it… comments are open!