Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brewery Row on the Historic Buffalo River

Yep, that too.
Yesterday, a local group announced plans for a beer district along the Buffalo River. Actually, when reading the Buffalo News it may be more of a real estate redevelopment deal with a beer district option.  Yes, it's "a bit premature" but that will not prevent us from speculating. I'm imagining Brewery Row along the river. The big fish teaching the small, economic revitalization, and beer drinkers having access to a local beer selection that hasn't been seen in these parts in almost 100 years. These folks could single-handedly plant Buffalo's flag on the craft beer map. Sure, we can get there without this but it will take more time.

This is the type of clever economic development that can do wonders for a local economy. Cleveland has the Flats, Baltimore has the Inner Harbor, and Pittsburgh has the Warehouse District. Two out of three isn't bad. Regardless, if you're going to do something like this you should do it proper.

If we were creating a Beer District it would be modeled after various art space programs typically formed by nonprofit organizations looking to jump start some economic development. In that vein, below are recommendations we offer for the Buffalo Beer District:

  1. Discount space. The big fish in this small(ish) town from development and brewing are backing this effort. In true beer camaraderie rental space should be offered to startups at a discount. We all know startups come up with the craziest - and best - ideas for beer and that will be a big attraction for beer drinkers. 
  2. Shared costs. The good folks that run Pearl Street have been at brewing for awhile. They have connections in the industry for tools, parts, systems, and equipment. Working together with enough smaller brewers in this district can increase buying power and reduce costs. This goes beyond hardware to include ingredients.
  3. Education. This is a two-pronged effort. The experienced brewers need to share knowledge with the newbies. All the brewers need to educate the common man (folks like me). Craft beer is booming nationwide and expanding locally. However, this town is still dominated by Molson, Labatt and terrible light beer.
  4. Marketing. This is a no brainer and surely something folks are already thinking about (of course, the same can be said about items 1-3). Joint marketing is a key feature of any good district whether it be an arts district, theatre district, entertainment district or beer district.
  5. Free Beer. Free beer for me.

No comments: