BUFFALO, NY - It's almost that time of the year again, Buffalo Beer Week begins on Friday. Breweries across WNY will participate and with the craft beer industry here booming, more pubs will be participating than ever before.
"The interest in craft beer has been on fire lately," said Neil Cavanaugh, the president of Consumers Beverages, which has 17 locations in WNY.
Six years ago, only a couple breweries in the city celebrated Buffalo Beer Week. This year -- 27 breweries across WNY will participate, offering events and many will expand their happy hour deals.
For the New York Beer Project in Lockport, this is their first beer week. The brewery opened its doors during the wintertime.
"We wanted to be all about the journey, our journey personally, the journey of beer in Lockport and about where we can go in terms of beer its hugely exciting time," said Kelly Krupski, the co-owenr of New York Beer Project.
Krupski says relaxed state regulations and economic incentives are making it easier for craft breweries to start up. The state offers a sales tax exemption for tastings at places like breweries and wineries and small spirits manufacturers can get an exemption from brand label registration fees.
Plus, breweries can get a 4.5 percent production tax credit depending on how much they brew.
"We're analyzing in a comprehensive way, ways that we can remove antiquated obstacles from watching this industry blossom," said Sam Hoyt of Empire State Development, an agency that's been leading many state economic plans.
Another brewery on the rise is Thin Man Brewery, which opened this summer and has a 15 barrel system in its basement. Mike and Suzanne Shatzel anticipate getting their federal license this week, so they can start to brew beer on site and they already have plans to distribute.
"Right now, we're just really concentrating on selling to the restaurant, once we get things rolling, distribute to other places locally and then big picture, full distribution," Suzanne Shatzel said.
The Govenor's office says the craft beer industry has grown to having $3.5 billion of economic impact statewide. And, brewers say that it's only a matter of time before the brunch bill will have it's impact that allows people to drink alcohol before noon on Sunday's.
For more information about Buffalo Beer Week 2016, visit: http://www.buffalobeerweek.com/