Our free and inclusive Voter Registration Ride this coming Monday, October 5th (6pm start time for October Monday rides, plus pandemic-induced restrictions below), brings us back to Community Beer Works (CBW, 520 7th Street), which will be open before the ride only for curbside retail (3-7pm, advance online purchase available) since their taproom is temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions.

CBW is somehow making more beer than ever thanks to creative curbside specials and increased distribution, and as always, walking the talk of putting *community* in their brand name by using their platform for the greater good – they recently dedicated a page of their website to voter registration, and supported our previous ride partner Open Buffalo through onsite sales of Black Lives Matter lawn signs. Learn more about CBW below from its president, Ethan Cox, along with a handy voting guide lifted from their website.

Are you registered?

Click here to check you status and to find your local polling place.

Need to register?

Click here to get started!

Looking for important deadlines?

Click here to view upcoming deadlines for voter registration in NYS.

Interested in voting by mail?

Click here for instructions on getting and using an absentee ballot in NYS.

What inspires you all to speak out and support community causes through the brewery?

From the beginning, we’ve been pretty forthcoming about supporting the organizations that we think are vital to Buffalo, to democracy, to social justice. That plays out in more than one way – we really do love supporting smalls bars, corner bars and taverns, since we’ve always talked about those third spaces [the first two being home and work] that I think are vital institutions for a healthy democracy.

The third space is a social leveler – everybody pays the same price for the same thing, and with a beer or two in you, sometimes the most interesting and productive conversation happens.

Where were some of the most important conversations over our Constitution played out? It wasn’t in a formal room – it was in a barroom. We’ve always championed the idea that beer plays a pretty critical role in a healthy, functioning, democratic culture. Thats why it’s sad to see so many of them disappearing – the Covid crisis has accelerated that, but it was happening anyway.

How has the pandemic affected CBW?

The biggest impact has been on the hospitality side of our operation, mainly the taproom; it’s gotten quite difficult to keep a bar or restaurant afloat, when there are restriction on how many people we can have – which, of course, we get it, but it’s not helpful. And also, people are genuinely and appropriately wary of gathering, especially in spaces where the noise level goes up, as when people talk louder it spreads more disease. We’ve struggled like every restaurant and bar, so much so that we decided to close our taproom for a while. We’ll surely reopen, but we’ll wait until it seems more viable, when people wanna come out again.

What do you envision for the future of CBW?

With the taproom closed, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to do some renovations that we’d had in mind for a while. Some of those are just cosmetic, but undoubtedly, we’ll also be reconfiguring the space so that when we open again it’s as safe as possible.

Other than that, because we’re not putting as much effort or money into the taproom, we can go full-steam ahead on manufacturing – to that end, we’ve got new new tanks, and we’ve expanded our capacity by about 60% since January 1st. We’re making more beer than ever, and because have a distributor as well as our own canning line, we’ve been able to grow as far as how much we’re making and how far it’s going – places like Wegmans, Tops, Consumers, Premier, gas stations – so, we’re more available in some sense than ever before.

We’ve also rekindled our relationship with our distributor to go further across and beyond Western New York – we’ll soon have distribution in Rochester, then further downstate in Syracuse and Albany, and possibly we’ll start to move into New Jersey – they buy beer there, too.