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Festival celebrates locally-made craft beers

Festival season continues this weekend with the second annual Buffalo-Niagara Brewers Festival at Canalside. Organizers say the event highlights how craft brewing is a growing industry across the region.

The festival features more than 30 craft brewers committed to sustainability and buying local.

Dustin Hazer, Southern Tier Brewing Company's head brewer, says it's humbling to work one-on-one with local hop growers and malters.

"Especially nowadays, everyone is really concerned about what's in their food. They're also concerned about what's in their beer," Hazer said, speaking at a news conference at Canalside Tuesday afternoon. 

"Very rarely will you get the opportunity to meet the guys who grow the raw materials in the beer and meet the guy who brewed it."

Buffalo-Niagara Enterprise Director of Investor and Public Relations Paul Pfeiffer says in the early 1900s there were 29 breweries in Buffalo. He says in the past few years the industry has rebounded dramatically.  

"Not only are those folks employing people, but they have created this niche industry that is very popular across the country," Pfeiffer said.

"The whole craft-brewing industry had a $33.9 billion impact in 2012. Clearly, that's very significant."

There will also be local food-to-table vendors and live entertainment. The Brewers Festival is Saturday at Canalside from 3 to 7 p.m.