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Eight Buffalo Spirits revives ‘spirited’ tradition

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

An exciting prospect in starting a Buffalo-based business is that the local market is littered with voids. Have the hankering to start a brewery? In a short time, it could evolve into a full-fledged brewery district. Eager to jump on the nationwide food truck trend? It could lead to a fleet of a dozen in a very short time.

Now, Eight Buffalo Spirits—a local start-up by partners Niko Georgiadis, Chad Vosseller, Jon Mirro and business manager Thomas Jablonski—has received its “D” liquor license from the New York State Liquor Authority (see right) and will become Buffalo’s first legal distillery since Prohibition began in 1919.

Considering the hurdles leaped and requirements met to receive such a license, it’s a landmark achievement for an ambitious local business.

In short, a distillery houses the mass production of a process predicated on the fermentation and distillation of natural ingredients (usually ethanol) to create varieties of liquor.

While they flourished in the pre-Prohibition Era, they’ve fallen upon hard times in the last century—Paul Clarke’s Imbibe Magazine article from March 2012 delivers tremendous detail on the history of liquor creation in New York State, its decline and fairly recent revival. Here’s a quick passage from Clarke’s post on the massive decline since the Volstead Act:

One thousand to one. As ratios go, this one’s pretty fierce. It’s also roughly the ratio of the number of small-scale distilleries scattered across New York at the state’s 19th-century peak to the number that existed in New York less than 10 years ago.

According to Eight Buffalo Spirits’ website, the local business will immediately begin crafting test batches and plans to begin vending in two months—roughly May 1.

The business will be based at 255 Great Arrow Ave. in North Buffalo, a short distance from Papa Jake’s Saloon and McKinley High School. See the map at the left for the location.

You’ve witnessed how Flying Bison and Community Beer Works—among others—have infiltrated local bars and grocery stores, providing local alternatives to national monsters like Budweiser and Labatt.

In terms of liquor, however, we’ve grown so accustomed to Jack Daniel’s, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Captain Morgan and Smirnoff that even the idea of local alternatives had vanished. Until now, at least.

Judging by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent act that permits the presence of micro-distilleries at local farmers’ markets in our state, the sky’s the limit for the reach of Eight Buffalo Spirits.

Could the distillery’s birth pave the path for another blossoming local trend? It’s a compelling thought.

TAGGED: distileries, distillation, eight buffalo spirits, imbibe magazine, liquor, niko georgiadis, whiskey

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