Abandoned grain silos in Buffalo, New York have been given new life as a brewery. Buffalo RiverWorks recently opened the $2.2 million brewery as part of the revitalization of the city’s waterfront.
Buffalo’s grain elevators have long been emblematic of the area but now could stand for a new era of innovation — both in brewing and architectural restoration.
Once part of the Wheeler-GLF grain elevator, the old silos now house the Buffalo RiverWorks brewery. RiverWorks employees transformed the silos into a brewery with the help of local architecture firm Abstract Architecture and engineering firm Kromac Design. They had to cut through rebar-reinforced concrete to create the space they needed, and also added a second floor inside. According to The Buffalo News, they had to carry out the work without plumbing or utilities.
General manager William Casale of the Pearl Street Family of Companies, which is behind the brewery, told The Buffalo News, “We were able to salvage these silos to create what we think is the first brewery built inside a silo in the world.”
Other efforts to revitalize the waterfront are also underway. Rock climbing walls were installed inside some silos, with an Escape Room and zip line slated to open this summer as well. An observation deck will adorn the top of one silo. Casale said they’re also thinking about setting up a silo distillery. Buffalo RiverWorks already hosts concerts, sports games, and other entertainment at their waterfront complex.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara executive director Jessie Fisher praised the new brewery, telling The Buffalo News, “The grain elevators more than anything else in Buffalo are our defining image on the world architectural stage. We have the largest extant collection of them in the world. The brewery is perfect, because it’s that marriage of grain and the Great Lakes beer comeback happening in New York State with the push to have more local beer production.”