By Jeff Martin

The list of beers available at the Ellicottville Brewing Company has grown since Peter Kreinheder opened the business in 1995.

But 2013 will take on a special significance as the year the company expanded – and began to address a growing trend in Western New York.

Construction continues on the company’s improvement project, a 7,200-square-feet expansion that includes a new brew house, kitchen, dining area, service and beer garden. From Kreinheder’s perspective, the expansion was necessary because, well, popular and flourishing businesses must expand to accommodate patrons, and also because it’s difficult for businesses to be dependent upon one specific season.

In EBC’s case, the new bottling facility will allow for more product in a variety of sizes, and the expanded dining area, which includes a new event hall capable of accommodating 85 people, will allow for more and larger dining experiences that have become a hallmark of the resort community. It will be located on the second floor of the facility.

“A lot of times in Ellicottville,” Kreinheder said, “it’s a lot of friends and families getting together, and I’m not talking small groups. I’m talking 10-15 people. Our dining room and event hall will handle that. It’s great.”

The new brew house, manufactured in Germany by Esau & Hueber, will replace the existing 18-year-old house, though the old system will be in operation at a semi-retired capacity. The new system is considered one of the most advanced, state-of-the-art craft breweries in the country.

For Kreinheder, that means the quality of beer served at EBC, already considered premium, will improve even more.

With a Northern Ontario landscape theme, the new beer garden will allow for more outside dining and possibly summer events.

Attending a ski trip in Vail, Colo., Kreinheder noticed a pub named The Hubcap, a brewery and a restaurant. He made a quick comparison between Vail and Ellicottville and saw no reason why Ellicottville, with its ski slopes and charming downtown atmosphere, could not benefit from one.

Putting together a business package, Kreinheder attended a UCLA brewing school from December 1994 to May 1995. After planning and working hard, he opened his business. It›s become a hot spot for beer, social events and, quite possibly, the location for more music and events.

“We want to have more entertainment,” Kreinheder said. “We want to offer as much as that as possible.”

The improvement project, in all its phases, will be completed in early summer, Kreinheder said.

By offering more dining room and an expanded bottling line, Kreinheder is hoping to balance out his year. The last two winters have been mild, which has decreased tourism. Kreinheder said he has no plans to go national with his product, but he is comfortable with being a product well known in the Buffalo and Western New York region – a goal that keeps him more than just floating.

“We’re trying to become less dependent on the ski season,” he said. “Less dependent on snow.”

And with Ellicottville’s growth toward becoming a true four-season resort town, that shouldn’t be hard to do.

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