It’s the day of our official opening for distribution.  It’s taken us 3 years and 8 months to get here.  We’re happy, excited, humbled, and very, very appreciative.  We could not have done this without the support of so many, and we’d like to take the time to personally thank those that have helped.

Before we do that, I (Matt) wanted to take a moment to write just a little bit about why we did this.  Chances are you already know the obvious reasons.  Yes, we love beer, and yes, we love the art and science of brewing beer.  And these were certainly two of the biggest reasons why we wanted to open a brewery.  But there’s something more.

A big part of doing this was because we wanted to start a company that made products of uncompromising quality, and who valued its employees above all else.  This was the kind of culture that we always wanted to instill into a company of our own.  We also wanted to create something special, not just for Buffalonians and for Western New Yorkers to enjoy, but for people in faraway places to come and see.  You see, we want to draw them in to Buffalo, to see firsthand all that our city has to offer, and to realize that we’re a city that’s made up of a lot more than snowdrifts and chicken wing bones.  This city is really about the people; people who care about each other and their community, that want to see great things happen here.  We’re a city full of hope.  You can feel it.

Of course, we know that we’re just starting out.  We have a lot to accomplish and even more to prove.  But these will be our ideals for the lifetime of our company.  The people below exemplify these ideals for us.

And so, without further adieu, and in no particular order…

Let’s start with the fine folks at Iskalo Development Company.  I’ve already talked a bit about Paul, who has been the guiding hand behind our brewery for some time now.  But to Dave Chiazza, Colin McDermid, Kim Collignon, Sam Lagambina, John Zelli, Pam Doeing, Nina Corey, Ken Thomas, Matt Roland, Neil Meyers, Candice Urban-Green, Julie Kramer, Cody Osborne, and the many others at IDC that have helped – we also say thank you.

To the people and places that let us come in and sample our beers: Paul at Alternative Brews, Dan at Pizza Plant, Bill at Gene McCarthy’s, Mike at Coles, all the great folks at The Kegworks Store, Chad (formerly) and Matt (presently) at Jack Astor's, Darryl and Mike at Aurora Brew Works - we say thank you.

We owe a huge debt to Steve Catalano, Alaina Houseknecht, and Matt Vallance, who steered our sales and marketing campaign in the early days, helped to lead an early tasting and feedback panel, and were just really super supportive.  We hope to work with you all again someday soon.  We say thank you.

Ryan Marfurt for several months of brewing assistance.  Let us know if you want a try on the big system someday.  Tim Taylor for constant ideas and support.  We say thank you.

Beer Professionals.  First, Alex Placito.  Our intro to Alex was when he came to one of our early tastings, but even if he had missed that tasting, it would have been impossible to miss him.  Where there is something to be learned about beer and brewing in Buffalo, Alex is there.  He is such a key part of Buffalo’s beer culture, and we say thank you.

Hello, how about Niagara Tradition?  Where do you think we got all of our homebrew stuff from anyway?  Thanks to the Dysters for being so central to Buffalo’s brewing culture.  We say thank you.  The same goes (again) for everyone at Kegworks.  Those guys are yamtastic.  We say thank you.

I think our second meeting ever (after John McKeone from the Small Business Development Center) was with Community Beer Works.  We met Ethan first, but it wasn’t long before we met Rudy, Dan, and Greg.  Some folks think that we decided we wanted to do this after we witnessed the success CBW had; this isn’t exactly true (I still remember reading about CBW in a 2012 Spree article and thinking “wait, there are other guys doing this?”)  But, I can’t imagine doing this without CBW around; they have been inspirations to us all.  I’ve said it many times, but if we can make beer anywhere near as good as the beer they make, then we’ll be happy.  Tis true.  Thank you.

Thanks also to Chris (and formerly Phil) from Pearl Street, who showed us around on our first brew day on a big system, and for generally being pretty helpful.  Thank you.

Everyone at the Niagara Association of Homebrewers and the Sultans.  Included and especially to the following local (home)brewers: PJ Dunn, Joe DePrima, Dan Baish, Eric Stellrecht, Norm Smith, Derek Maloney.  Keep up the good work, and thank you.

Jason Crossett and Terry Felton (and Alex again) for help with early (and continued – yeah that’s right) discussions regarding our tasting panel – thank you.

Peter, Mike, and Dan for letting us poke around Ellicottville Brewing Company and restaurant for a couple of days – thank you.

How about the fine folks at Kuhnhenn Brewing in Michigan and Badger Mountain Brewing in
Washington?  Corey called about a hundred places before these guys were nice enough to let him come in and learn the ropes a bit.  And, they make freaking awesome beer.  We say thank you, for both of these.

Try-It Distributing for being such supportive and awesome partners thus far.  Thank you.

To Mike Balzano, for taking like 6 months to create our logo, and then melting my eyes out with awesomeness when I finally got to see what he created.  We still owe you a ton of merch (and beer if you’re in town) – we say a huge thank you.

To Frank Tierney, and a grueling weekend of web development eased by copious amounts of Vanilla Oatmeal Stout – we say thank you.

Writers: Julia Burke (formerly of Spree), Nick Mendola (currently from Spree) and Cory Perla from Artvoice.  KC Kratt from Spree for his amazing beer pics.  Everyone from WNY Craft Beer Mag.  Bloggers: Ryan Bonnett for an early and honest review, the guys from Buffalo Whiskey Guild, Mike Chelus from Nittany Epicurean, Donnie Burtless from Buffalo Eats.  PJ and Scott from (formerly?) The Wooden Barrel, remember that?  We say thanks to all of you for caring about the things we had to say.  A special thanks to to Ethan, Nick, and Chris Groves from now defunct Craft Beer Talk.  Did you know how much you can learn about beer driving from Amherst to Grand Island?  You do now!  Thanks! (psst – and bring the show back dammit!)

Beer groups!  Too many names to remember here, but here’s a few – Pete Holguin, Merc, trxxpaxxs, Fuj, Brandon, dogfishandi, and the rest of the (former) Buffalo Beer Advocate tasting group – you guys are in the top 1%.  Jeff Stauffiger and Joe’s Beer Club, just good guys who like good beer.  The same goes to the guys in the Buffalo Beer League.  The Beer Goddesses for being awesome!  For giving us some feedback and sharing some great beers with us – we say thanks to all of you.

Rob Free for sharing both advice on our tap room and great beer – we thank you.

Willard Brooks for lots and lots of deep and beery conversation :-) we thank you.

Pat DePuy for what we are guessing will be one superdope video upon completion – we thank you (in advance).

Imran Mahmood for early finance advice – thank you.

Jeff S. and associates, Ed V., Mario P., and other folks we met early on – thank you.

Ess Eastmer for one fantastic photo – and for initially inviting us to be Beer Geeks - we thank you.

Special thanks to the Catalano family for hosting our very first tasting event three years ago, and to everyone that came that night.  I still remember it clearly.  Thanks.

Our families, girlfriends and wives for being patient with us while we’ve spent countless hours hovering over boiling wort or buried in alcohol taxation laws.  We thank you so, so much.  We’ll be home soon.

To everyone we forgot, and I’m sure there were many.  Come see us this weekend and we’ll buy you a beer that we made with your help.  We thank you, Buffalo.  Cheers.
Cheers to you!