A Lockport couple plans to invest $3.8 million in a new brewery and restaurant at the southern entrance to Niagara County.
It would be a two-story structure in what is now a vacant lot at the northeast corner of South Transit Road and Tonawanda Creek Road North, directly opposite the First Niagara Bank center, bordering Erie County.
The 17,000-square-foot building will be designed to look like an old-fashioned factory: a red-brick look with lots of windows, said Kevin Krupski, a certified public accountant.
Kevin and Kelly Krupski appeared at the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency Thursday to apply for tax incentives for the NY Beer Project, as their venture is to be called.
Krupski said he and his wife, a music teacher turned designer, are using the same architect who created the retro-look Niagara County Produce building on the opposite side of the Niagara-Erie County line.
“The architectural look coming into Niagara County is awesome,” IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon said.
Inside the proposed building will be a 120-seat restaurant with a bar, as well as a brewery for on-site beermaking. The business plan is for the beers to eventually be bottled for sale in retail stores, perhaps in the third year of operation, Kevin Krupski said.
“A brewery is exciting to us and it’s interesting to everyone we talk to,” Kelly Krupski said.
Her husband said they intend to hire a brewmaster among the 50 jobs they plan to create, about 30 part-time and 20 full-time.
The layout is to include a beer garden, a warm-weather deck overlooking Tonawanda Creek, and some private event space on the second floor.
Kevin Krupski said NY Beer Project will start with “a 15-barrel brew system. It’s not tiny, but it’s not huge.” He said there will be room in the building to triple the manufacturing space if needed.
Kelly Krupski’s father is Vince Beiter of Beiter & Spoth Builders, who is expected to help with the project, Kevin said.
The terms of the tax break have not yet been settled, but the IDA intends to hold a public hearing at its next meeting at 8 a.m. Feb. 12.
Normally, industrial development agencies are not allowed to assist retail projects, but IDA counsel Daniel E. Seaman said there are exceptions, such as when a proposed business is unique within a community.
“It’s a microbrewery, and there’s nothing like that in this community. The nearest one is in Wilson,” Seaman said. He said the IDA board would have to vote on a formal finding of uniqueness.
Kevin Krupski said, “From a brewery standpoint, there’s only three breweries in Niagara County. They’re pretty far out. It’s a destination to get to Woodcock Brothers (in Wilson).”