Everybody knows that a new business often starts with just a dream. Big Ditch Brewing Company is no exception: It all began with a dream, a passion, and a … science experiment.
In 2011, “aspiring scientists” Matt Kahn and Corey Catalano decided to experiment with brewing their own beer at home in their garage using a simple food-grade bucket. They enjoyed the experience so much that they kept trying -- mastering new techniques and experimenting with different recipes. From this was born their ‘pie-in-the-sky’ dream of opening their own brewery, to share their creations with everyone. After a couple years of honing their craft, the duo decided to act upon it.
They paired up with Wes Froebel, who had experience with operating big breweries, and who helped them plan the necessary steps to make their dream brewery a reality. As they were scouting locations for the brewery, they met Paul Iskalo, who became the company’s principal investor.
Together, the group decided to establish the brewery in a facility at 55 East Huron Street in downtown Buffalo, NY. Big Ditch Brewing Company officially opened for business in October 2014.
Several months later, in the summer of 2015, the company opened the Tap Room, a restaurant front for patrons to enjoy Big Ditch beers along with the finest bar food in town.
The Tap Room is where Rocket Lens Photography met up with Western New York model Annisa this past January for a cozy winter photoshoot.
Annisa’s style suited the Buffalo winter day: a warm grey sweater, slim black pants, and white leather high-heeled boots. She accentuated the outfit with a handcrafted disc necklace and simple hoop earrings. Her cat-eye eyeliner was, as always, winged to perfection.
The second floor of the restaurant was the perfect setting to begin the shoot. The Brewer’s Lounge instantly feels like home with its rich mahogany flooring and terracotta colored walls. The space is studded with high top tables and bar stools, as well as groups of deep leather armchairs and comfortable couches. With direct access to the loft bar, it’s a great setting for intimate socialization. The centerpiece of it all is a show-stopping brick fireplace which lends a relaxing warmth to the atmosphere.
Annisa was delighted by another feature of the Brewer’s Lounge: the custom shuffleboard table and dart boards. Anyone who enjoys a little friendly competition while getting their drink on will have a blast up here.
But for those who maybe want to play it safe, there is also a variety of board games available in the Brewer’s Lounge. Annisa experienced a flashback to childhood with an exciting round of Sorry!
Downstairs in the Beer Hall, where the public can dine during normal hours of operation, there are always 6 to 12 beers on tap. The menu features dishes that incorporate Big Ditch Brewing Company brews, such as Hayburner Chili, the Breuben, and Excavator’s Meatloaf. With a wide selection of appetizers and entrees, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, wraps, pasta, and more, there’s something for every taste. With a huge variety of beverages available to complement the meal, including not only Big Ditch brews but also wine, spirits, and hard cider, everyone will leave with their appetite and their thirst sated.
Big Ditch is famous for their creative and delicious brews, notably their signatures: Hayburner, an American IPA; Low Bridge golden ale; and Excavator rye brown ale. They also offer an extensive selection of seasonal and limited release brews, such as Autumn IPA, Fresh Baked winter ale, 100% NY pale ale, Deep Cut double IPA, and others. As boasted by Big Ditch Brewing Company on their website, “Made from the best ingredients available, and crafted with just the right balance of art and science, Big Ditch beers are innovative, flavorful and drinkable...glass after glass.”
Big Ditch Brewing Company is a great place to meet up with a buddy or get together with a small group of friends and family. There are also several options for private events such as corporate luncheons, showers, and birthday or anniversary celebrations.
Big Ditch Brewing Company is proof that ‘pie-in-the-sky’ dreams are not always out of reach. From two guys sampling homemade beer in their garage to operating a 40-barrel brewhouse and a widely-recognized brand, their story demonstrates how with the right amount of hard work, a simple passion can become a successful venture.
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