Big Ditch makes more beer
Matt Kahn and the guys at Big Ditch Brewing Company have an expansion story to tell. Big Ditch’s headquarters are located in the heart of the city—a revitalized downtown and the facility’s popular brew meant a wild spring for the business, as well as created as a unique problem.
“By Memorial Day we were pretty much out of beer,” Kahn says. “We had sold everything. There was nothing left.” The brewery’s 5,000 barrel system couldn’t keep up with the demand, which meant more barrels and more employees. Big Ditch’s capacity is now up to 15,000 barrels a year.
“We’re basically brewing three shifts starting at 11:30 at night on Sunday and we finish at midnight on Friday,” Kahn says. “So we’re making or filling beer twenty-four hours a day/five days a week and a little bit on weekends too.”
The necessary expansion has also helped Big Ditch’s canning initiative. Western New York got its first taste of canned Big Ditch in late September, with signature beers Low Bridge, Excavator, and Hayburner all sliding into tin.
“Our whole plan had three parts,” Kahn says. “The first was to make really good beer in drafts for Buffalo. The second was opening our taproom and having a home base of factory showroom with really good food and great service. The third part was people being able to get packages and take it home and enjoy it.”
So what’s next for Big Ditch? “For the next year we’ll focus on canning more beers, Kahn says. “In the next two-to-three months, we’ll definitely can our double IPA Deep Cut. It’s not our best seller but it’s got the most buzz, and won a silver medal at that Tap New York festival. If Hayburner in cans was 1a, Deep Cut is 1b.”
Kahn said they’ll also be doing seasonals in cans, and teases the idea of a variety pack, so folks can try all the Big Ditch brews.
Kahn concludes, “We’ve grown so fast that it was almost out of control. You have to sacrifice efficiency just to keep up, but this will be the first year since we’ve opened that we don’t have a construction project. We can sit back and take what we have and make it better. I expect everything we’re doing right now to be better next year, from how it tastes to how we sell it. I’m excited for a little bit of a rest.”
But not too much.
Nicholas Mendola writes on sports, beer, and other topics for Spree.