Friday 21 November, 2014

Where Is The Best Bar Supply Store? I Vote For Kegworks Buffalo!

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The news out of Buffalo this week reminded me that I was overdue (surprise) to post about an amazing store I visited there a few months ago…back when the weather was milder, thank goodness! At the tail end of a trip to Western New York this summer,  I was flying home out of Buffalo airport […]




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The news out of Buffalo this week reminded me that I was overdue (surprise) to post about an amazing store I visited there a few months ago...back when the weather was milder, thank goodness!

At the tail end of a trip to Western New York this summer,  I was flying home out of Buffalo airport and I saw a rack card for Kegworks "Tools for Drinking" store that had me intrigued: it claimed to offer extensive supplies for home winemaking, home brewing and mixology all in one place--something I honestly hadn't seen before (which doesn't mean that it doesn't exist). Luckily, my family was reasonable enough to indulge my interest in a side trip.

CLICK ON ANY THUMBNAIL ABOVE TO OPEN THE PHOTO ALBUM

As it happens, not only is Kegworks in an unexpected city (who knew Buffalo was that passionate about imbibing? I mean, their chief culinary contributions are hot wings and lazy man's baking pan pizza) but it was even in an odd location for Buffalo! Definitely not downtown, and definitely not even in a popular retail area.

But once you pass through the Leprachaun entrance (go ahead and try), you won't care what it took to get there.

The word "wondrous" almost doesn't cover it, for us bar geeks. I'm taking shelves and shelves of uncommon glassware, several varieties of copper mugs, several varieties of absinthe spoons!, take your pick of bartop aging casks, hand juicers, cocktail books, a library of bitters (no seriously, the photos here don't even cover half of them) and mixers, a healthy Tiki section, punchbowls... and that's just one side of the store.

On the other side of the store--as you might guess from its name--is a full array of tools for home (and small batch professional) brewers: tap lines and equipment, a full wall of different mash blends, a small counter classroom for seminars, and of course growlers and tap handles aplenty.

There are also home bottling supplies for wine makers. And, no surprise, the counter service is friendly and attitude-free (I mean, this isn't Williamsburg or Silver Lake, after all...wait, I should take that back, the folks at Barkeeper are awesome, but sadly that place is a postage stamp compared to this).

I could dream about Las Vegas supporting a store like this--there's certainly enough mixologists here, plenty of cheap retail space, and it's a worldwide destination spot--but realistically it's hard to imagine almost any city really supporting a niche store on this level. Maybe Portland?

Now, I'm not saying you can't find all of this stuff online (in fact, KegWorks the store is a direct outgrowth of a website itself--which is why it's located in such an odd spot--this was a vacant storefront tied to KegWorks' original warehouse space). But what I am saying is that, for any of my travelling mixology or beer freak friends, should you happen to be in Buffalo, this is WELL worth a side visit. And for those of you not-too-far away in Toronto, Cleveland or Syracuse... yeah, it's worth a small road trip, too.

Go. And tell them I sent you. Not that it will make a bit of difference.

Check out KegWorks Online ... and drool


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