CBW expands north
Community Beer Works cofounder Ethan Cox
Photo by kc kratt
A base concept of “embeering Buffalo” has served as a bit of a mantra for Community Beer Works, at least when visualizing where these creative minds will head next. Niagara Falls, however, would’ve caught even the folks at the core of their business unaware. Nonetheless, the Community Beer Works Barrel House is headed to Niagara Falls to become the city’s first brewery since World War II.
“We always kinda hoped and planned that on down the road we would have some satellite operations or whatever,” CBW cofounder Ethan Cox says. “It’s always been my contention that practicality dictates that if you can find opportunities to sell your beer directly, you should.”
The CBW Barrel House will be located at the former Press Box Restaurant, located at 524 Niagara Street in the Falls. Here’s how it happened. Bernice Radle and her Buffalove Development offices moved across the street from CBW not too long ago, and the Niagara Falls native had always had an itch to help out back home. Her familiarity and fondness for the CBW crew grew, and fate showed its hand through investor Sam Savarino and the available property in the Cataract City.
“In essence, Bernice put the two of us together,” Cox says. “She’s had a relationship with Sam for a while, and she is the one who saw the RFP for this property and thought, ‘A-ha. This might be the moment where I can bring in with a backer I have like Sam and get something important done.’”
The new location was announced by CBW and Niagara Falls mayor Paul Dyster in mid-November. “This is not a brew-pub, legally speaking; it’s a brewery with an attached taproom,” Cox clarifies. “The amount of beer that that place is actually going to produce on site is going to exceed what meets the minimum requirements for the license—fifty barrels a year. We’ll produce more than that there, but the entire volume consumed on this premises will not come from it. So Frank, Whale, That IPA, and a lot of our standards will be offered there, but will not be produced there.
“When it comes to guest taps, when it’s not CBW stuff made off site, we’d like to get stuff from Wilson, some from Beer Project. Our primary audience with this location really is Niagara Falls and the residents of the area, not tourists.”
While craft beer has exploded in Buffalo, the movement has been enjoyed but not often produced in Niagara County. There’s Woodcock Brothers in Wilson and the New York Brewery Project in Lockport, but little else. “The region of Niagara Falls itself has been bereft any sort of brewing operation since 1940,” Cox says. “I believe somebody’s trying to put something together in Lewiston, too. If we get them on board, we’ll have the four points of Niagara Falls covered. I think we’ll all get along very well.”
Nicholas Mendola writes on sports, beer, and other topics for Spree.