We like sports.  One thing that always goes along with following sports, and one of the things that makes sports fun, are pre-season/pre-game predictions.  However – and this is a bit of a problem – those that make the predictions seemingly never go back and reflect on how well they did at those predictions.  Sorry Bills fans – this includes you too.
We posted the following to Facebook on December 31, 2011:
“2012 is going to be an exciting year, we can feel it. Short list of goals for us: finish the business plan, get financed, find a brewery location, file for licensing. And of course, make, and then drink, lots and lots of wonderful beer. Happy New Year everyone!”
According to Facebook, only 41 people saw this post – so it would be easy for us to ignore this post and not address how accurate we were in our predictions.  But, doing things the easy way is most definitely not our style – if it was, we would never attempt to open a brewery.  So, to break it down a bit further:
2012 is going to be an exciting year” – check.  From the people we’ve met, to the beer we’ve brewed, we’ve been very busy, and loving every minute of it.  We want to thank everyone that has supported us this year, we really, really appreciate it.  I can tell you that every day I spend on this is another day I’m convinced that there is nothing else I’d rather do.  So, yeah, I’d say that’s pretty exciting.
Finish the business plan” – check.  This was not trivial.  It took 6 months straight to finish (from late 2011 through early 2012.)  We reference it often in discussion about our plans.  I am convinced that this plan will be a cornerstone of our business for years to come.
Get financed” – check.  This took another 6 months.  And, as I’ve said before, is still not completely done – but progressed far enough that we feel safe in saying that we can finance our startup.  This was also not trivial by the way – most of our team is not friends or family, but rather other folks we’ve met that share our vision of joining two things we love most – craft beer and Buffalo.
“Find a brewery location” – just under the wire – but I’m putting a check in this box.  This, obviously, is huge.  We’ve been scouting potential locations for about 18 months.  We have just recently agreed in principle to a location and signed an intent to lease.  The only reason we can’t announce the location yet is because we still have a zoning variance that requires approval (certainly not a formality, but at this point, we have no reason to believe it won’t be approved), and until that occurs, we won’t have the key.  What can we tell you about it in the meantime?  How about the following:
-          It’s in the city of Buffalo.
-          It’s close to a historical building.
-          It has space for a 2000 sq ft brewery and about 1000 sq ft for a tasting room.
-          The facility is in great shape.  18’ ceilings, 2” water lines, a huge dock door, an already built-in trench drain (and the floors are actually sloped towards it!) 
We will let you know when we’re ready to go for the variance – if you have an interest in having another brewery in Buffalo, I am sure the city would love for you to let them know.
“File for licensing” – ah yes, there’s always one prediction that’s off.  We can’t file for licensing until we have our names on the lease and we’ve ordered our equipment.  That’s looking like 1-3 months off for us right now. 
“Make, and then drink, lots and lots of wonderful beer.” – um, yeah, that’s a check.  All of the beers we were making last year were way better this year.  Of course, we enjoyed drinking lots of good beer too.  Our faves that we’ve tried this year?  An impossible question to answer.  Beers that spring to mind – Alchemist Heady Topper, Cigar City Hunahpu Stout, Firestone Walker Wookey Jack, Columbus IPA, Cascade Sang Noir and Royal, Cantillon Fou’ Foune, Nogne India Saison.  It was great getting Founders in our area this year – all of their beers have ranged from very solid to completely amazing.  The Micros event during BBW was a great event for beer geeks like us.  And, a special shout to our fellow Buffalo brewers Community Beer Works, who are making very, very good beer.  Their IPA (“The IPA”) has already made its way onto our list of all time favorites.
Heaven in a can
 5 out of 6?  I’ll take that. 
Predictions for 2013?  We won’t make as many – because we know you’ll hold us to the same standard as above for next year – so we’ll just make one.
We will open by the end of 2013. 
Here’s to hoping we get this one right.  Happy holidays, and a very happy new year.  Cheers.