About Big Ditch Brewing Company
Big Ditch Brewing Company began with a dream. Matt Kahn and Corey Catalano, two aspiring scientists and beer lovers, were working in a biotech lab in early 2011, and wanted to start a new business for themselves. They used a food-grade bucket—otherwise destined for the trash—as their first fermenter, and they created new and exciting beers right then and there in a garage. Over the next two years, while they were perfecting their craft, they met Wes Froebel, himself a previous co-owner of other breweries, who was also interested in starting a new brewery project. The trio’s pursuit of a building to house their brewery intersected with Iskalo Development Corp.’s redevelopment of a former Verizon fleet maintenance facility at Ellicott and Huron Streets in downtown Buffalo. The two groups worked intently for more than a year planning the brewery and tap room, with Paul Iskalo joining the Big Ditch team as its principal investor.
Big Ditch opened for business in October of 2014, initially selling beer in kegs throughout Western New York. Their Tap Room opened in the summer of 2015, serving Big Ditch beers alongside fresh food in a fantastic downtown setting. Big Ditch began canning their beers in 2016 and distributing throughout the rest of New York State after that. Big Ditch has since grown to become the city of Buffalo's largest brewery and one of the 10 largest independently owned breweries in New York State.
Our name refers to the working name of the Erie Canal, the historic waterway that altered the trajectory of Buffalo and the Great Lakes region forever. The canal was a groundbreaking innovation that opened trade between the Great Lakes and the Eastern Seaboard at either end: downtown Buffalo, at the mouth of Lake Erie; and Albany, in the Hudson Valley. It changed regional commerce and distribution, giving faster access to bulk goods. With an innovative lock system, the Erie Canal allowed ships to carry cargo across various canal depths. The once small idea of a “big ditch” went on to change the way people bought, sold and shared goods, and ultimately put our great City of Buffalo on the map as one of the finest in the country.
The Erie Canal opened in 1825, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Hudson River. When the plan for the Canal was presented, skeptics never thought it would materialize. They jokingly referred to it as “Clinton’s Big Ditch” after the New York State governor who championed the project. But when it was filled with water, the Big Ditch changed Buffalo forever and marked the beginning of more than 100 years of prosperity for the City of Buffalo.
The Big Ditch remains a part of us today. We still embody the spirit of the workers that built the Canal with their bare hands. As with the prosperity that followed the completion of the Canal, Buffalo today is a city reborn. And those who are shaping the next 100 years of prosperity are the ones we brew Big Ditch beer for – a beer that celebrates our roots and serves as a reminder that the Buffalo of the future is being built with the same strength, pride and ambition that created the Erie Canal nearly two centuries ago.
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.
All of Big Ditch’s brews are produced on site. Big Ditch Brewing Company currently makes its beer in two different facilities. Our Production Brewery at 101 Oak Street makes beer using a 40-barrel (1,240 gallon) brewhouse. The Oak Street Brewery primarily makes beers that are packaged in 12 oz cans for distribution. Our Innovation Brewery at 55 East Huron Street, which was our original brewery, makes beer using a 20-barrel (620 gallon) brewhouse. The Huron Street Brewery primarily makes limited release, specialty, and experimental beers, which are often served only at our tap room.
The construction and development of both of our Brewery spaces as well as our Tap Room and Restaurant has been made possible thanks to our ongoing relationship with Iskalo Development. One of the region’s leading developers, Iskalo has been instrumental in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Buffalo. Their passion for collaborative, innovative property development has been key to Big Ditch’s growth.
Beers made by Big Ditch Brewing Company
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