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Buffalo area breweries to hold celebration this week of local brews, growth of business

Beer WBFO file photo
WBFO File Photo

The region’s growing craft brewing industry will be showcased and celebrated this week with the inaugural Western New York Craft Brewery, beginning Monday in Buffalo.

The Western New York Brewers Guild represents more than 30 breweries and is organizing this week’s events. The Guild divides its participating breweries into five regions. Three of those designated regions – the City, East and Southtowns – will host events beginning with the City region.

“We're fortunate to have so many great breweries in the area,” said Katie Brown, the marketing officer for the Guild. “Some really kind of pride themselves on more traditional styles, and others pride themselves on more experimental styles.”

The samplings this week at three scheduled events will range from traditional ales and IPAs, to more exotic brews, to cider and mead.

The first will be held at Big Ditch Brewery in Buffalo on Monday, September 27, beginning at 6 p.m., and is billed as the “Beerie County Fair.” The second event will be a Brewer’s Karaoke Night, hosted by Lilly Belle Meads in Lancaster, beginning at 6 p.m. The third and final scheduled event is “Southtowns Live,” hosted by 42 North Brewing Company, beginning at 4 p.m.

The regional industry has grown considerably in recent years, and Brown points out that some local colleges offer courses related to the science of brewing. Some area producers invite students to learn the trade with hands-on opportunities.

“A lot of them offer internships so that you'll actually go in and work at a brewery, hands-on for several months, before you're able to complete the program,” Brown said. “You'll see firsthand what it's like to work out brewery and then hopefully end up with a position in the industry.”

She adds that there are other immediate needs within the industry, from hosts, cooks and managers, to business office personnel and event coordinators.

(Click here for more details about Western New York Craft Brewing Week.)

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.