Some think you can't truly have a passion for beer until you've drank many styles and developed a taste for it but for me, my passion began long before I ever had a sip of beer. It was at the age of 11, during my first trip to Busch Gardens that I became overwhelmingly intrigued by the process of brewing beer. It was my first exposure and though I didn't fully understand every aspect, I knew I wanted to learn more. Having had a great time and creating some unforgettable memories with the family, the vacation ended and we went back to normal life, as all do.
Flash forward about ten years, and my interest in brewing was reignited when a friend was traveling abroad for the summer and asked if I would like to borrow his brewing kit while he was gone. As anyone who has brewed their own beer knows, the thought of being able to make beer with your own two hands and drink it at a fraction of the cost and with so much more satisfaction, is extremely enticing. I obviously agreed to borrow it and immediately began researching styles and recipes. I brewed my first beers and subjected my college roommates to tasting it. Though pretty much all college guys will try drinking just about anything with a little peer pressure, I would like to think they enjoyed what I created, or so they said. I grew more confident in the quality of my beer after brewing frequent batches to keep up with filling the kegerator for parties.
Beyond the enjoyment of brewing and the consumption of the beer that I made, being a college business student, I tried to find a way to integrate my rather newly found passion into a business of some kind. I began reading books such as "Rushing the Growler" and "Brewing up a Business" and I decided to write a business plan for my own brewery as part of my senior project. I figured I would just receive a grade and hopefully move on to graduate and get some sort of decent paying job doing something I somewhat enjoyed. To my surprise, I ended up winning an award for my business plan, earning a small sum of cash and a little more respect from those who doubted the idea.
Having my passion and idea to possibly open my own brewery validated, I furthered my brewing education through attending the American Brewer's Guild Certification Program and fulfilling an internship on the West Coast at Hoppy Brewing Company. It was an invigorating experience. I came home enthused and wanting more. I participated in an internship locally at Flying Bison Brewing Company where I learned a little more about the hands on process and the local beer market.
As everyone knows life rarely allows you to focus on one thing at a time. While always keeping the thought of owning my own brewery in the back of my mind and brewing here and there when I could find time, I moved forward in life. I worked not so rewarding jobs, climbed the corporate ladder to earn a decent living, married my loving girlfriend, bought a turn of the century house which entailed an exhausting 4+ year restoration/renovation which is only finally winding down as well as suffering a traumatic hand injury that had the potential to cripple my dreams of ever brewing beer again. With a son now on the way and opening my own brewery within the same year, its an amazing thought that I will be able to teach him my passion and as any dad would, I can only hope to be successful enough to some day pass it down to him.
Having a love for the City of Buffalo installed in me by my grandfather at an early age as he served as a knowledgeable tour guide on our many car rides past his childhood landmarks, I grew up and decided to move to the city myself. Having a supportive wife who not only loved me but loved the idea of opening a brewery almost as much as I did, I began to scope out buildings. I wasn't looking for anything big or extravagant, knowing that I had minimal funds to fulfill such a large goal. Potential was my only requirement and I saw that, to most of my doubting family's surprise, in our current building. I don't blame them one bit. It took a true visionary to see the potential in a building that was in shambles; with crumbling bricks falling from its' graffiti ridden exterior that lead through a jammed door to a busted concrete floor in which the majority was covered with the greasy remnants of an auto-body shop. Car, tools, spare parts and all were left for us to clean out before we could even see the building's four walls.
We took a risk, began pulling permits and construction was soon under way. My dream was finally coming true and we were doing it all on our own! Spending every weekend and most week nights working on the brewery, in between working on our own house and calling on family members willing to help where they could, the project took a lot longer than we ever anticipated. As stated many times, we greatly appreciate the continued patience and enthusiasm of our thirsty patrons! We successfully met our goal of raising 10K with the generosity of our awesome Kickstarter backers that went towards portions of construction and equipment purchase. Now, finally being able to open our doors to the public and focusing on perfecting the beers, I am so ecstatic and it's unusual for me to be this open and candid about my life to the public but I truly want to express my gratitude to those who played any part in making this become a reality. The past few years and the journey towards opening this brewery have been nothing short of exhausting but every bit worth it!
Beer is my passion. I promise to focus on perfecting my beer wherever I can and strongly believe in the hands-on, artisan aspect of brewing beer. I take pride in performing every job in the brewery, from the brewing to the business, on my own. I value my relationship with the public, respect their opinions and will always strive to meet their demands. I desire to brew more and more creative beers while maintaining multiple core beers on tap at all times. I want my brewery to feel comfortable to all. It's small and intimate which can sometimes be intimidating to someone who doesn't know much about craft beer. We are far from beer snobs here and welcome questions of any kind. We all learned at some point, after all. We have a great love for the brewing history of Buffalo, NY and continue to collect as many unique antiques pertaining to that as we can get our hands on! (Keep that in mind if you have some you're willing to sell...) Our love for Buffalo history can be seen through our beer naming system which commemorates milestone events in Buffalo's past. We don't strive to be the most trendy or to expand too quickly or even necessarily to become rich from this brewery. If we can maintain our passion for beer and great relationships with our patrons, that's our only focus along with paying tribute to our wonderful City of Buffalo that hopefully like our own future, has unlimited potential!
Cheers to Good Neighbors and Great Beer!
John Domres, Jr.
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