After reading about Buffalo Distilling Company (BDC), and the revival of a 100 year old Buffalo brand being brought back to life (see here), I decided to reach out to one of the owners regarding the fascinating turn of events. BDC co-owner and hands on distiller Andy Wegrzyn obliged me with some background on the brand that is now seeing renewed life after a century-long slumber.
In order to get the operation off the ground, Andy partnered up with friends Frank Weber and Eric Kempisty, and the three embarked upon a direction that would take them from setting up a distillery on WNY farmland to returning to their roots in the city of Buffalo. The initial thought was to get the business rolling in Bennington, NY. Now that the three operators and distillers have a handle on the business, Larkinville will be the beneficiary of the newest leg of their journey.
“We are not “blenders” or “marketeers” or “fakers.” At Buffalo Distilling Company we hand-make spirits in small batches using the best natural ingredients Western New York Farms and Orchards have to offer – fermented, distilled and bottled on our farm distillery.” – BFLO Distilling Company
Since the NYS distilling laws changed in 2008, and BDC realized the window of opportunity, the One Foot Cock brand has seen significant growth. The product is already available in over 30 stores and 40-50 restaurants (see here). While One Foot Cock is a modern day product (named after a one foot cock on a weathervane), the BDC company has come across plenty of historic marketing and advertising promotional signage for its company.
Prohibition cast the original company into what can now be considered a “deep slumber”, only to be reawakened by new owners a century later. The owners have brought back the same old world “ingredients” that were once infused into the spirits – hard working and hand crafted in Buffalo, NY.
If you’re cruising around the city today, looking for the perfect holiday surprise for someone that would appreciate such a hand crafted gift, the distillery’s “One Foot Cock” bourbon whiskey is available at liquor stores such as Gates Circle Liquor. The distillery also hand crafts an un-aged apple brandy (see spirits here), and is considering vodka or a single malt American “Scotch” for its next move.
It won’t be long before the distillery operation relocates to 860 Seneca Street (see building here). The target date is April, 2015. BDC owners have leased the historic building from Larkin Development Group (Mill Race Commons LLC), with a right of first refusal for purchase. There is a small one-storey metal structure to the left of the brick structure that will be partially dismantled in order to create a more captivating appearance for the distillery from the street. The historic brick building will feature a tasting room in the front, on the first floor. Andy tells me that like-minded uses will be incorporated into the second and third floors in the future.
This holiday season, don’t forget that when you are purchasing spirits for your office or home parties, think about buying local products. In this case you would be supporting the people that are investing in Buffalo, one barrel at a time.