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Local Flavor

Southern Tier Brewing Co. Plans Buffalo Expansion

The Southern Tier Brewing Co. announced Tuesday it will expand operation to the HarborCenter complex in downtown Buffalo by late summer. The Lakewood-based brewery will take ownership from Pegula Sports and Entertainment. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February 2003, the founder of the then-brand new Southern Tier Brewing Co. said it was a longtime dream of opening his own business.

Since that time, the Lakewood-based brewery has expanded considerably, with taprooms located in three major markets — Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Charlotte, N.C. — and a fourth on the way.

Phin DeMink, founder of Southern Tier Brewing Co., announced Tuesday that the brewery will be expanding operation to the HarborCenter complex in downtown Buffalo, currently the site of (716) Food and Sport — a two-story popular bar and restaurant and owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment.

“Since we opened our doors in 2002, Buffalo has been one of our top markets,” DeMink said in a statement. “We’ve always viewed Buffalo as home and always wanted a physical presence in the Buffalo market. We were looking for the right spot to share our great brands with our many friends and fans who have been such loyal supporters of Southern Tier over the years. We believe we finally found the perfect location.”

(716) Food and Sport has been closed for nearly a year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Southern Tier’s latest taproom, next door to where the Buffalo Sabres play, will open by the late summer.

“Terry and I built LECOM Harborcenter to contribute to the rebirth of Canalside and our waterfront.” said Kim Pegula PSE president and CEO. “Part of our plan has always been to find local partners to run these businesses when the time was right. It makes sense now to have our longtime partners at Southern Tier take over ownership and rebrand (716) Food and Sport. We are confident that Phin, Sara and their team will enhance the great experience our fans have come to expect by doing what they do best, serving them their favorite locally brewed craft beers along with a new menu of hand-crafted, beer-inspired food items and appetizers.”

Renovations will be made to (716) to allow for on-site brewing, and will include a retail area for merchandise and “to go” sales of beer and spirits.

Paul Vukelic, president and CEO of Try-It Distributing, said the taproom will be a great addition to the downtown waterfront area.

“As a proud partner and local distributor for Southern Tier Brewing, Try-It Distributing Company, Inc. welcomes and supports their expansion into Buffalo,” he said.

Southern Tier is based at the Stoneman Industrial Park in the town of Busti.

DeMink noted in a August 2002 interview that the equipment used to get the brewery up and running had been sitting unused in the former Old Saddleback Brewery in Pittsfield, Mass. He started his career in the craft brewery business with the Ellicottville Brewing Co.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, DeMink said his aim was to produce the “freshest, cleanest beer possible, using all natural ingredients. We’re proud to offer a locally brewed product with the highest quality and great taste.”

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