The origin story
By owner Jeff Ware
Resurgence Brewing Company really began in my kitchen. It was there I brewed the first recipes of Sponge Candy Stout, IPA and Loganberry Wit on a 5-gallon home brew system rigged together out of converted Coleman coolers, cooking pots and a turkey fryer.
However, it was during my time living in New York City that the idea for Resurgence Brewing was born and the dream of going from home brewer to commercial brewer really came to life. At the time, I was working in sales for a craft brewery, as was my future wife, Erin. In our travels throughout the boroughs of NYC, we were exposed to wonderful ethnic bars with huge outdoor picnic areas – known as beer gardens. These family-friendly, relaxed drinking environments quickly became our favorite hangouts.
Coming back home to visit our family in Buffalo, we often wondered why no beer gardens existed in a town with such a beer-drinking backbone. On top of that, there was very little local craft beer available anywhere in the Greater Buffalo area. So the idea was born! Open a craft brewery that features a large indoor-outdoor beer garden where people can relax and “experience great beer” with family and friends. But instead of pouring beer from Europe, like the beer gardens of NYC, I wanted to create fresh beer on site.
I proposed to Erin in Brooklyn and, while celebrating with some well-crafted brews, we packed our bags for Buffalo. We leased a small apartment in Buffalo Jan. 1, 2012 got to work. After two years of many long days (and even longer nights), we were finally able to open the doors to a brewery of our own. We posted an announcement on social media that we would be holding a soft opening the next night, June 7, 2014. We hoped a few people would come, but around 300 showed up that first night. We have been growing ever since!
When we were creating the name for the brewery, we wanted something that really spoke to what was happening in Buffalo and its beer scene. Nothing seemed to capture the momentum and energy of what was happening all around us more than RESURGENCE. The city was coming back to life with creative ideas, renovations and new construction for the first time in decades. The beer scene in Buffalo was also coming back to life. At one point, Buffalo was home to more than 30 breweries. Now there are more than 50 in the greater Buffalo area.
The original Niagara Street
Our first building on Niagara Street was originally the home of Sterling Engine Co. in the early 1900s. They were world-renowned for their boat engines and produced engines for PT boats during WWI. The company went out of business in the early 1940s. From there, the building changed hands several times before being purchased by the City of Buffalo. At some point in the 1960s, the city repurposed the building until the mid 1980s. It was mostly used for storage or left vacant until Resurgence Brewing Co. leased the building in early 2014 and began the process of retrofitting the space for its public opening in June 2014.
Chicago Street expansion
It became pretty evident about a year after we opened our doors at Niagara Street that we were going to need more space. We had already maxed out beer production and needed more room for private parties and a kitchen.
Instead of rushing to get something open, we decided to take our time to find the right building in the right neighborhood. In 2019, almost five years to the day after we opened on Niagara Street, our production facility, taproom and banquet center made its debut at 55 Chicago St. in the Old First Ward.
The taproom is in the former home of EB Holmes Machinery Company. Founded in the mid-1800s, the company is credited with revolutionizing the process of making wooden barrels. At the time, wooden barrels were made by hand, which was very labor intensive. Brothers Edward and Britain Holmes created a series of award-winning machines that made the process much quicker.
The taproom building (Pattern Building) was built around 1910 and would have been used as the workshop, drafting room and elevator for the entire facility. The production space was housed in a four-story brick building that stood where the rock-climbing gym currently exists. The beer garden is a recreation of the courtyard that existed between the two spaces.
We continue to strive to exceed expectations in the beer we make, the experience we offer and the service we provide, and we hope this facility is a showcase of Buffalo beer and something Buffalonians can be very proud of.