Batavia, N.Y. — Batavia has been without a brewery since the early 1900s. You could say it's been a bit of an untapped market in Genesee County.
"Closest breweries are Buffalo, Rochester...there's one in Perry, NY which is probably a half hour away," Matt Gray, a co-owner of Eli Fish Brewing Company, said.
But in the past week, Gray and his two business partners ended the drought, opening Eli Fish. It draws on the name of a brewery that shut down in the town more than a century ago.
"We had three breweries in Batavia," Gray explained. "One of them was Eli Fish and when Prohibition came, all three of those businesses transferred into other lines of work."
Gray says they started drafting the plans to bring back a brewery about four years ago. They bought the spot in 2015 and after a few years of renovation, opened the brewery.
Eli Fish features 20 rotating beers on tap, either their own or from somewhere else local like Thin Man Brewery or Ellicotville Brewing Company.
They also have liquor and wine from around New York State.
But in their 10,000 square foot space, you better believe they offer more than just something to drink. There is food, too.
"A very eclectic mix of items," Gray said. "Everything from pork shank to brisket covered banana pepper peroigi."
There will be two more restaurants in the space later this spring as part of the "Fresh Lab" restaurant incubator with the City of Batavia. It supports restaurant entrepreneurs with space for their concepts to take flight.
One will be a vegan concept and the other is Puerto Rican.
They also have a place to play with a bocce ball court that doubles as space for indoor corn hole.
"Our downtown has gone through what we've seen in Buffalo, too, where it was a great downtown," Gray explained. "It had decades of decay and loss and now we're going through a similar renaissance on a different scale that Buffalo has seen. So we really wanted to be the next piece of the puzzle."
Eli Fish Brewing Company is located on Main Street in Batavia. They are open everyday of the week for lunch and dinner.