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Big Ditch Brewing Company Supports Camp Good Days' 40th Anniversary Camper Reunion

40 years later, children and families dealing with the realities of cancer are still benefitting from the dedication and programs Camp Good Days has to offer. In honor of these past 40 years, Camp Good Days of Western New York is bringing the community together to congregate and celebrate the impact this organization has on so many lives affected by the realities of hospitals, operations and the realities of cancer, 365 days a year.

In support of Camp Good Days’ 40th Anniversary Reunion Weekend, Big Ditch Brewing Company has specially crafted and launched “Good Day IPA,” available at their brewery starting Monday, July 15th to Friday, July 19th – leading up to the official reunion weekend.

At the end of this week, 15% of all proceeds made from the total sale of all “Good Day IPA” will directly go toward Camp Good Days, to assist their mission.

"We are happy to support Camp Good Days by donating proceeds from the sale of “Good Day IPA,” a small batch IPA we developed. We hope this contribution will help to further Camp Good Days’ mission of making the lives of children dealing with cancer, and their families, as happy and rewarding as possible,” Matt Kahn, Co-Founder and President of Big Ditch Brewing Company said. “We invite our guests across Western New York to join us further Camp Good Days cause as they continue changing lives."

The Camper Reunion runs Saturday, July 20th at 12pm to Sunday, July 21st at Camp Good Days Recreational Facility in Branchport, NY, near Keuka Lake. Events include dinner and dancing with a live band, time-capsule reveals, fireworks, and other family-friendly activities to enjoy.

When Camp Good Days was first established, the goal was to provide children with cancer, ages 8-17, with a one-week retreat away from the hospital with other children experiencing the same challenges. As the needs of this population grew, so did Camp Good Days; setting up offices across Western and Upstate New York to provide year-round activities and support to children with cancer of all ages and their families.

The purpose of this reunion is to reconnect volunteers with campers, former and current, and provide them an opportunity to bond, share stories, and a sense of unity and hope.

“In 1979, a nine-year-old girl from Rochester, NY was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Her father didn’t want to see his little girl fight alone,” started Lisa Booz, Regional Director of Camp Good Days, “Camp Good Days was a gift to her and now, 40 years later, that gift is still giving. Our reunion weekend will bring together alumni campers as well as generations of volunteers to meet again and share memories of courage, hope, triumph and loss.”

MORE ABOUT CAMP GOOD DAYS AND SPECIAL TIMES

Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, adults and families whose lives have been touched by cancer through summer camping experiences and year-round events and activities. Camp Good Days was founded 38 years ago by Gary Mervis to provide a residential camping program for his daughter, Teddi Mervis, and 63 other children with cancer from Upstate New York. It has since grown to become one of the largest organizations of its kind in the world. Camp Good Days was the fourth program of its kind in the country and the first to be started by a layperson. Many of the programs and services started at Camp Good Days have been used as models for cancer treatment centers and organizations throughout the United States and Canada. This summer, over 1,000 children, including children with cancer from several foreign countries, will participate and experienced the magic of Camp Good Days firsthand at our own beautiful Recreational Facility, located on the shores of Keuka Lake. All programs and services at Camp Good Days are offered free of charge for the participants. The Camp Good Days' Headquarters & Volunteer Training Center is located in Mendon, NY. Camp Good Days also maintains offices in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Ithaca, NY.

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Big Ditch Brewing Company  Celebrates Four-Year Anniversary

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Big Ditch Brewing Company Celebrates Four-Year Anniversary

Yesterday, Big Ditch Brewing Company celebrated its fourth year in the craft brewing industry. Big Ditch opened its brewery in 2014 at 55 East Huron Street in downtown Buffalo, New York. Big Ditch sells and distributes beer in Buffalo and Rochester and with 93 employees, is one of New York’s fastest growing breweries.

“Four years ago, we opened this brewery not only to ‘celebrate beer,’ but to join Buffalo’s craft beer movement by contributing our own high-quality, delicious beer,” said Matt Kahn, president of Big Ditch Brewing Company. “We’ve worked hard to assemble an extremely dedicated team. It’s the work of our many brewers, managers, sales staff and tap room employees–and of course our loyal Big Ditch enthusiasts–that we’ve been able to see so much success in Buffalo and Rochester so far. We’ve brewed great beers with great partners and look forward to finding new ways to innovate.”

Founded in 2013, Big Ditch officially opened its brewery in 2014, followed by its Tap Room and restaurant in 2015. The brewing company pays homage to the Erie Canal, a project that skeptics never thought would materialize. Jokingly referred to as ‘Clinton’s Big Ditch’ after Dewitt Clinton, the New York State governor who championed the initiative, the Erie Canal changed Buffalo forever in 1825 by connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Hudson River.

The Erie Canal started as an idea, but ultimately served as the catalyst for the City of Buffalo’s rapid growth into one of the largest cities in North America by the early 1900s. The founders of Big Ditch know that the return of brewing to the City of Buffalo is similarly contributing to the region’s continued revival as well as its proud brewing tradition.

“The Erie Canal paved the way for prosperity,” continued Kahn. “And it’s for those who are shaping Buffalo’s next 100 years that we brew Big Ditch beer–beer that celebrates our roots and serves as a reminder that the Buffalo of the future is being built with the same strength, pride and ambition that created the Canal nearly two centuries ago.”

Big Ditch has collaborated with national brewers including Great Lakes Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewery and New Belgium Brewing, as well as local partners including 12 Gates Brewing, 42 North Brewing, the Buffalo Bisons, Community Beer Works, Consumer’s Beverages, the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, Leonard Oakes Winery Estates, Lockhouse Distillery, Pressure Drop Brewing, Public Espresso, Resurgence Brewing Company, Upstate Brewing Company, Tommyrotter Distillery, Try-It Distributing.

Big Ditch Timeline:

·        2014 – Brewery opening

·        2015 – Tap room opening

·        2016 – Brewery and tap room expansion; canning line addition

·        2017 – Launch in Rochester market

 

Awards:

·        2019 – Silver Medal, Excavator Brown Ale (Brown Ales, TAP NY)

·        2019 – Silver Medal, Packet IPA (India Pale Ale, TAP NY)

·        2019 – Bronze, Deep Cut IPA (Strong IPA, TAP NY)

·        2019 – Gold Medal, Cannon Call (America Double IPA, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2019 – Silver Medal, Fall Black (Amber/Dark Lagers, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Most Medals Won (One of two breweries, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Bronze Medal, Deep Cut (America DIPA, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Bronze Medal, Hayburner (American IPA, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Bronze Medal, Cinnamon Apple (Fruit and Spice Beer, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Bronze Medal, Imperial Towpath (Imperial Stout and Porter, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2018 – Award of Excellence, Rochester Market Entry (Events and Observances, PRSA Rochester)

·        2017 – Gold Medal, Deep Cut (Strong India Pale Ale, TAP NY)

·        2017 – Bronze Medal, Towpath (English Style Stout, TAP NY)

·        2017 – Bronze Medal, Deep Cut (American DIPA, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2017 – Western New York’s Best Reuben, Breuben (Best Reuben, All WNY News & Radio)

·        2017 – Best Local Brewery (Food – City, Buffalo Spree)

·        2016 – Second largest brewpub in the Northeast (Brewers Association)

·        2016 – Best Craft Brewery in New York State (NY TAP Festival)

·        2016 – Silver Medal, Deep Cut Double IPA (Strong IPA, New York State Brewers Association)

·        2016 – Silver ADDY Award (Logo Design, American Advertising Federation)

·        2016 – Best Local Brewery (Food – City, Buffalo Spree)

·        2015 – International Design Award (Company Branding, HOW)

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Big Ditch Brewing Company  Partners with New Belgium Brewing

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Big Ditch Brewing Company Partners with New Belgium Brewing

‘Folly’ IPA to debut for Memorial Day and celebrate the folly of great ideas

Today Big Ditch Brewing Company announced that it will debut ‘Folly,’ a collaborative IPA, alongside New Belgium Brewing, the fourth largest brewer of craft beer in the United States. New Belgium’s brewer, Kelly McKnight, traveled from Fort Collins, Colorado to Buffalo on Thursday, May 2nd to brew the beer, which will be available in time for Memorial Day weekend and celebrate the folly–“foolishness”–of having great vision. The beer is a part of Big Ditch’s Lock IPA Series, which includes limited amounts of canned IPAs that explore the range of fantastic flavors found in hoppy beer.

“Buffalo today is a city reborn, in the same way it was after the opening of the Erie Canal, a project that was deemed a foolish endeavor and one that would never materialize,” said Matt Kahn, president of Big Ditch Brewing Company. “We brew our beer to celebrate the strength, pride and ambition it takes to execute great vision, and are thrilled to collaborate with New Belgium, pioneers in our industry who looked folly in the face when starting their business.”

This special collaboration between New Belgium and Big Ditch celebrates the presumed folly of people with great vision, including New Belgium co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch and those behind the original plans for the Erie Canal.

“Building a business is always risky and some would even see call it a crazy or foolish idea,” said New Belgium Brewing’s Upstate New York Sales Manager, Ryan Kurtz. “But well before New Belgium began selling our wonderful beer in all 50 states, what was once seen as folly was realized to be an awesome vision. The Erie Canal was an impossible project and one that required a lot of risk, and that resonates with us. We join Big Ditch in their call to ‘Celebrate Beer,’ and now add a second rallying cry: ‘Follow your Folly!’”

New Belgium is currently the fourth-largest brewer of craft beer in the United States and the eleventh-largest brewery. A 1988 bike trip through Belgium inspired a young couple to launch New Belgium Brewing, bringing the flavors of centuries-old Belgian beer styles to the college town of Fort Collins, Colorado. By 1991, co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch had installed brewing equipment in the basement of their home. In 2018, New Belgium sold 844,937 barrels of beer. The 100% employee-owned company now employs more than 700 individuals and has two locations, in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina.

Big Ditch Brewing Company pays homage to the Erie Canal, a project that skeptics never thought would materialize. They jokingly referred to it as ‘Clinton’s Big Ditch’ after Dewitt Clinton, the New York State governor who championed the project. But when it was filled with water in 1825, the ‘Big Ditch’ changed Buffalo forever by connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Hudson River.   

Beginning May 24th, Folly will be available in four-packs at Big Ditch Brewing Company in Buffalo, and retailers in both Buffalo and Rochester. The IPA starts with Appalachian Wheat from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, NC, New Belgium’s second home, and adds in Galaxy, Amarillo, and experimental HBC-522 hops, to yield a creamy yet drinkable IPA that is equal parts tropical, stonefruit, and citrus. The beer is 7.2% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

ABOUT NEW BELGIUM BREWING

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale, New Belgium brews fifteen year-round beers; Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Trippel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Lemon Ginger Ale, 1554 Black Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel Belgian style Ale and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit NewBelgium.com and follow the brewery on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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Year In Review: 2018

As has become customary – here’s a look back at our 2018!

First thing we realized is that we haven’t written many blogs in 2018! It’s been another really busy year.

We did a lot of fun stuff besides brew and can Hayburner this year, which is mostly what we’ve done!

Fun new beers we put in cans this year included new Lock Series beers like 363, Dibble, and Canvass. We also released some fun variants of Hayburner in cans this year, notably Double-Dry Hopped Hayburner as well as Citraburner. Non-IPAs that saw their way into cans for the first time this year included Beautiful River, our spring seasonal saison, and Make Me Wanna Stout, our coffee and cream stout we brewed for pre-gaming with Public Espresso coffee.

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This was the first year we released our Detour Series, which were fun variants of Bourbon-Barrel Aged Towpath, the beer we release annually the night before Thanksgiving. Pumpkin Pie, Raspberry Truffle, Vanilla Latte, Coconut Cream – which was your favorite flavor? We did some fun collaborations with local breweries this year – Power Ballad Double IPA with CBW, Aqua Buddha with Pressure Drop (cannot decide which of these beer names I like better), a Mister Goodbar 50th anniversary IPA with 42N and others, and a Buffalo Beer Week IPA with 12 Gates and others.

42N-Mister Goodbar collab

42N-Mister Goodbar collab

Fun pilots we brewed this year were our Berry Sour, Cotton Candy Milkshake IPA, and Passion Fruit Hayburner. You’ll see more beers like these in 2019. We also installed a crowler machine in 2018 so you can take some of these draft beers home with you in cans – don’t forget to use this new perk in 2019! All in all, we created 35 new beers in 2018 – a little more than one every two weeks, which is about our average. You can expect 25-35 new beers from us next year as well!

We were very proud to win four medals in this year’s New York State Craft Beer competition, tied for most in the state. An amazing accomplishment for us considering how much good beer is brewed in New York. And speaking of Brewed in New York, the public television show that highlighted us and other New York breweries premiered this year! Hoping they do another season of this show!

Awards won for Hayburner, Deep Cut, Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale, and Towpath!

Awards won for Hayburner, Deep Cut, Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale, and Towpath!

We installed a ton of brewery equipment in 2018 to gain some brewing capacity to make more beer. We can’t do this again in 2019 – there’s no more room in our brewery – but we’re looking at adding in some fun toys like more lab equipment and better pilot batch fermenters.

tanks 2018.jpg

Our tap room saw a menu change in early 2018 – expect something similar in 2019. We did a lot of the same events in 2018 as we did in previous years – Eric Wood’s Flights and Bites, Hunter’s Hope, several weddings, our anniversary party, Stoutsgiving, and don’t forget New Year’s Eve – for everyone with tickets, see you tonight!

Pre-wedding picture, the events staff looking great!

Pre-wedding picture, the events staff looking great!

We continue to be very proud of our Big Difference volunteer team, we attended more events than ever this year, and more of our employees participated this year than ever before. These events continue to be rewarding and inspiring for us.

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What’s to come in 2019? We’re expecting three more Lock IPAs and at least one more Hayburner variant, guess which one? Expect two new Detour series variants around Thanksgiving as well. As I said, we’ll have a menu change coming up shortly, expect to see some delicious new dishes and some old favorites back on the menu. We’d like to do more beer dinners this year – we used to do these regularly and they are such great times. Expect to see some more this year. Hopefully there will be some new hours in the day you can enjoy our tap room as well – that’s a very vague hint, but oh, how we like to tease.

For those of you wondering if we’re going to sell beer in your village/town/city/state, almost definitely not. We cannot grow any more this year. We hope to be able to eventually, and we hope to have more to say about that eventually as well.

Finally, what’s become my favorite part of writing this blog every year - a rundown of great beers we’ve had! Here are some beers our brewers loved: Eddy Fitz from the source at Great Lakes in Cleveland, Pineapple Tangerine Grapefruit Jelly King from Bellwoods. From NYS: All Green Everything from Other Half, Lickable Wallpaper from Fifth Frame (thanks for these, Will). 100 Ft North from Suarez was probably the best beer any of us had this year, but Soleil Farmhouse and Passionfruit Silhouette from Hudson Valley Brewery was close. And to our local brothers and sisters! The “Halt” Goses (both with and without fruit), Asylum Porter in cans, and Sojourn in bottles from 42N; Minkey Boodle, Trial by Wombat and Aura Saison from Thin Man; Galaxy DDH from Woodcock; Zombie Saison from NYBP; Smashtag from OFW, and Delicate Kettle Sour from Resurgence, amongst many others. We’ve said it before – there is as good beer made in Buffalo as anywhere in the country right now.

As always, thanks again for the support – 2018 was an amazing year and we continue to be humbled. We are lucky enough to have the coolest jobs in the world, and it’s all because of you. Have an equally awesome 2019, Western New York!

Brewers!

Brewers!

More brewers!

More brewers!

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The Importance of Beer Education in Western New York

Note: This is an article that ran in the 2018 Buffalo Beer Week Guide, as written by Matt. The focus topic of Buffalo Beer Week in 2018 is beer history and education.

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To the general public, it might seem like craft beer is everywhere these days. As a brewery, even we are occasionally surprised at the bars, restaurants, and retailers that are interested in our beer. We’ll get often get comments like “Hey, my favorite bar X just got your beer on, I drink it all the time!” and so forth.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. According to the Brewers Association, craft brewers experienced 117% growth from 2011 (11.5 million barrels of beer produced) to 2017 (25 million barrels produced).

Of course, Western New York isn’t immune to this phenomenon. According to the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, WNY could claim five local breweries in 2011 (Buffalo Brewpub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Flying Bison Brewing Company, Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, and Southern Tier Brewing Company). Today there are 29 in operation, with 7 (at least?) in planning. These local breweries continue to experience growth as well; according to Buffalo Business First, local breweries produced about 134,985 barrels of beer in 2016, versus 156,390 barrels in 2017, or 16% growth.

Despite this growth, the surprising part of the story is that craft beer is still the minority preference for most beer drinkers, as craft beer only represents 13% of the market on a volume basis (23% by dollars). For every craft beer you drink, there are 7 to 8 people drinking a “macrobrew”.

For craft brewers, the challenge has been, and continues to be: how do we convert macro drinkers to micro drinkers? For myself, and for the BNBA, we feel the path lies through education, which is the theme of this year’s Buffalo Beer Week.

“But,” you’re preparing to argue, “it’s beer! How much could there be to learn? And besides, I don’t want to think about my beer, I just want to drink it!” For sure, there is a time and place for drinking, we won’t argue with that. But, craft beer is so much more of an experience: from the tasting, to the process, to the stories behind why your local breweries opened, we’d argue that drinking craft beer is just plain better for your mind.

For someone new to the journey of craft beer, it helps if they have a knowledgeable and reliable tour guide. As brewers, our jobs must be more than just combining water with grains, and dissolving hops and yeast into wort. We must be these beer Sherpas, guiding our guests with colorful stories about our beer, our brands, and our history.

For most new craft beer drinkers, beer falls into three categories: IPA = bitter, Dark = Guinness, Lager = Blue. However, according to the Brewers Association, there are over 150 different styles of craft beer. How would a novice even begin to navigate the differences between all of these? This is where the brewery can provide value. Guests will sometimes tell us “I don’t really like beer.” We usually reply with “You don’t really like beer yet.” I’d say we’re successful in finding a match about 99% of the time.

In addition to beer education, we must tell the stories of our history and brand. Every brewery brings a unique perspective and style to the art and science of making beer, and all of those stories are driven by a passion to create something great. These stories make drinking the beer fun, interesting, and memorable.

A final word to breweries, and perhaps even more so, to beer drinkers. Brewers must continue to innovate and break the boundaries of what beer is; and drinkers must continue to be open minded about these styles. The IPA “haze-craze” has resulted in excitement over a single style of beer; but craft beer has so much more to offer than a single style, and if craft brewers produce only one style of beer, we’re not much different than macro breweries that only produce adjunct lagers. Local breweries like 42 North (with their Barrel House), Resurgence (with their Kegs and Eggs series), and Community Beer Works and Thin Man, who both frequently collaborate with other breweries, are good examples of the spirit of innovation alive in our local beer scene. Beer drinkers: let go of your expectations and learn to appreciate the range of flavors beer is capable of. It’s one of the best things about beer, really!

We’re truly living in a golden age of craft beer, where there are an amazing number of choices available to the consumer. Personally, I dream of a time where locally crafted beer is the only choice at every bar, restaurant, and retailer; funny enough, this used to be the case hundreds of years ago. However, as long as our breweries continue to lead the way by educating, I feel confident my dream will become a reality.

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