BUFFALO, N.Y. (Buffalo Rising) | In preparation for Saturday’s opening of Labatt USA’s new The Draft Room and the Labatt Brew House, this coming Saturday, we got a sneak peek at the space. Officials from Labatt USA and Pegula Sports & Entertainment were on hand to talk about the new digs, as was Frank Cravotta, Executive Vice President of Creative Services for PSE, who toured me around.
The tour started by examining some of the aesthetic features, including a conveyor belt that was once operation at the Genesee Brewery. The conveyor belt runs along the ceiling from the entranceway to The Draft Room. A video within the frame of a tulip pint glass displays a sudsy brew, but also seconds as an informational screen for events, specials, etc. The video screen is surrounded by 5000 wooden nickels. Many of the other authentic, historic displays relate to the production, packaging, and shipping of beer.
The brewery operation is on the first floor, with the tanks facing the Perry Street. According to Cravotta, this was done intentionally to show off the brewing operation, and the aromatics are a nice touch as well. Further down the hall is a sensational wall sculpture of sorts that is basically a beer color scale – each of the giant glass tubes holds a different color beer, to give customers an idea of the types of beers that are being brewed (based on the Standard Reference Method – SRM. There are two of these beer spectrum sculptures at the venue. Tasting Room manager Zach Sciranka said that the brews currently range from a strawberry gose to a New England IPA.
- 3,000 square-foot innovation brewery – 10-barrel, four-vessel brew house where the Labatt Brewmaster experiments with brewing a variety of new and emerging beer styles
- 400 square-foot tasting room – provides a front-row view to the entire brewing process, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the innovation brewery. Beer drinkers have the opportunity to taste and share feedback on fresh, high‑quality beers, served straight from eight brite tanks
The food side of the operation will run by PSE Hospitality. Each of the menu items has a number that correlates to the perfect beer pairing, as determined by the cicerone-certified staff. There are 30 varieties of beer to choose from, as well as select cocktails, and two options of wine on tap. The food menu will consist of sharable options, as well as house favorites such as fresh-baked pretzels, pizzas, smoked meats, salads, and sandwiches. Many of the food options will incorporate beer as a feature ingredient.
Aside from the open seating and bar seating that accommodates 200 guests, there is also added seating for 100 in the 4,000-square foot seasonal outdoor beer garden.
Aside from all of the food, beer, drinks, and dining, the building also houses Labatt USA’s corporate headquarters (floor two). And soon, it will be home to Pegula Sports & Entertainment (floors three and four) in early 2019, and our high-end residential apartments (fifth floor). There is a separate entrance for residents and office workers, visible behind glass from inside the Labatt Brew House (79 Perry Street).
Come Saturday, this city is going to be a lot more blue, as Labatt House opens its doors to the public. This is another big win for The Cobblestone District, the waterfront, Canalside, and all of Buffalo.