Craft Beer in WNY: Dave Collins of Resurgence Brewing Co.
Brewer Dave Collins
Company: Resurgence Brewing Company
Years on the beer scene: Six
Beer he recommends today: Flying Bison Aviator Red
Glass, can, or bottle: Can
First beer he had: Smithwick’s
Since its opening in June 2014 on Niagara Street in Buffalo’s West Side, Resurgence Brewing Company has quickly become a go-to for a wide range of beer lovers. Walk into the refurbished warehouse on any given day and you’re like to find city dwellers and suburbanites of every age enjoying libations brewed onsite. Brewer Dave Collins is one of the driving forces behind the company’s success.
When Collins began his career in the beverage industry working as a bartender in Florida, he was forced to study wine. He began to read about spirits on his own time and found them to be much more appealing. “Then I found a book called Brew Chem 101. It was $1.75 on Amazon,” he says. “Literally everything that I read stuck in my brain. And I was like, ‘Oh, I really like this stuff!’”
Having discovered his passion, Collins jumped all in with a series of stops that brought him in and out of Buffalo, including internships at the Orlando Brewing Company and Flying Bison Brewing, a bartending and brewing position at Buffalo BrewPub, and membership in the inaugural class of Niagara College’s brewmaster program. Once he was done with that program, he moved to Syracuse to open the city’s Gordon Biersch.
A few years later, Collins was getting restless and looking to come back to Buffalo. A fortuitous email to an old professor got him connected with Jeff Ware, who had spoken to the professor earlier that same day about finding a brewer for his new operation. The two met in the empty shell of what would become Resurgence and quickly realized how well their views aligned. After spending an hour on the building’s roof on a snowy November night, chatting about beer and their dreams for the company, Ware and Collins decided to partner up.
Since then Collins and the brewery have seen great success–coming from countless hours of hard work, of course. “The real goal is to be fun and be the most creative brewery in town. We’re a catalyst showing people beer doesn’t have to be this one thing. We make all sorts of stuff and there’s nothing wrong with that. Beer should be fun and exciting.”
Like so many of the drivers in Buffalo’s booming food and drink scene, Collins wants to see his brewery succeed alongside the new and old shops in town, not at their expense. “There is real beer in Buffalo, and really good beer,” he says. “As we go, their beers are going to get better, our beers are going to get better.” And when that happens, everyone wins.
Nick Guy is a frequent contributor to Spree.