Here we go! Blog post #1. I’m Jonah. Born and raised in Williamsville, NY. Known nothing but Buffalo my whole life. That is until I went off to college in 2012 and got to know another city for the first time. Though just a few hours down the I90, I could feel something missing. Not the chicken wings (though I have given up on wings outside of Buffalo), but that native Buffalo pride you can’t help but feel when you’re here. I’m talking about the kind of pride where you can say “Go Bills” instead of “Have a good day,” during the off-season, and not even get a weird look. You just can’t get that anywhere else.
And then, there was beer. I got into craft beer at a younger age than I was supposed to. Should I say that? Too late. Aside from just drinking it, I saw early on how beer can bring people together and act as a facilitator for friendly, productive conversation. This seems especially true in Buffalo, a place with such rich brewing history and two sports teams that have kept us reaching for another cold one. A drinking city with a sports problem, we may be. But, that’s also part of what brings us together as a community.
Since early high school, I noticed this and wanted to create a beer that embodied that Buffalo pride, and the tastes of our community on the whole. I was seventeen years old when I started to look into what’s called contract brewing – essentially another brewery brewing your beer for you. I began making phone calls to some local breweries in the area, and asked if they do any contract work until I found one that said yes. I explained to the brewery that I wasn't twenty-one yet, but wanted to learn more about contract brewing, so that I would be ready to go by that time. They were extremely kind and gave me the information.
By that time, however, I was almost off to college, and the idea was placed on the back burner until my sophomore year. I had found out about a business plan competition that was run by the school, and I had to give it a shot. I started putting together a pitch and telling friends and family about the idea during a break while I was home from school. When I pitched the idea, nearly everybody I spoke with had the same reaction: they emphatically would shout out what they thought the beer should be. Suggestions came at me left and right, and everyone was sure they knew the perfect beer for Buffalo. With everyone being so enthusiastic about their own opinion, I thought, why not leave it up to the community? And MyCity Brew was hatched.
I spent the rest of my college career working on the idea so that by the time I graduated, it would be ready to roll out. I was a finalist in the business plan competition both my junior and senior year, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, graduated in 2016 and came back to Buffalo to begin the selection process. More on the selection process and Buffalo’s choice next time – that could take a while.
For now, we’re finalizing plans to brew the first full-scale production batch of our flagship brew, created by Buffalo, for Buffalo: The Byson Brown Dunkel. You can expect a late summer release, with distribution to bars, restaurants and beer retailers across WNY. A sincere thank you to all nearly 10,000 of you who voted in our first ever selection process, followed our progress, and stayed patient. I literally could not have done this without you.