Raise a glass and let's celebrate - 80 years ago, on December 5th, the repeal of Prohibition was passed with the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution.
Fourteen years earlier, on January 16th, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified enabling national prohibition. What were they thinking?
But - we have more to celebrate than the repeal of Prohibition, although if that never happened we wouldn't be where we are today… for today we can announce that we have received approval by the City of Buffalo planning board for the construction of our brewery and tasting room.
The ramifications of prohibition were obviously immense for our country’s brewing industry. Most of America’s breweries closed never to reopen; those that did reopen had a tough time with new laws regulating their profession and severe increases in taxes. It was a time when only the strongest survived; and the breweries that focused on producing a light, inoffensive, and inexpensive lager, which could and would be marketed to the masses, would be the survivors.
It was for this reason that America saw its number of breweries dip to an all time low in the late 1970s; and for a time America was the world’s laughing stock when it came to making watery beer (or, for making love in a canoe for that matter). Of course, Buffalo was no different. What was once a proud tradition in the late 1800s (somewhere between 30 to 40 breweries once boasted of Buffalo as their home) dried up and moved on.
Did the exodus of Buffalo’s breweries take some of our cities vitality with it? Of course, one can never say for sure – although it surely could not have helped. Buffalo’s history is so richly tied to beer – after all, we did build a brewery before we built a hospital – that there’s no doubt that the absence of breweries must have contributed somewhat to our identity crisis.
Which is why Tuesday’s planning board meeting was such a historic event. We were of course very happy to share our plans. As we’ve been saying for some time, we’ll have a brewery and an adjoining tasting room – but the full scope had not yet been revealed, and those in attendance seemed impressed.
But, it wasn’t just us at this meeting. Flying Bison formally announced its plan for a new brewery in the Larkin District. Resurgence Brewing announced its plans for an outdoor brewery and tasting area on the West Side, over where Community Beer Works is setting up shop. Even one of the projects that was tabled for the moment, the RiverWorks Project, is intended to include a brewery.
That’s right – four brewery projects came across the planning board’s agenda. In one day. Want proof that Buffalo is serious about becoming a better beer city? Boom. There it is. And, just to be clear – it’s not just a better beer city. Buffalo is becoming a better city. Period. -There were other projects on the agenda that are intended to breathe even more life into our city.
Here’s to seeing more of this in the future. Progress. We’ve come full circle since Prohibition and things are changing. We can feel it. We know you can too. Let’s get Buffalo back to what it once was. Let’s celebrate. Like it’s 1933.