Buffalo Bayou Brewing's Long-Awaited Expansion To Be At Sawyer Yards
Buffalo Bayou Brewing will break ground on a $14M brewery and restaurant in Sawyer Yards.
The three-story, 28K SF facility will be about three miles from the brewery's current location. The move will greatly expand the company's brewing capacity; it shipped about 8,000 barrels this year. The expanded capacity will also double employment to approximately 100 full- and part-time workers.
The most exciting part for beer lovers will be the brewery's taproom and 200-seat restaurant. Currently, Buffalo Bayou's brewery experience has dozens squeezing into a corner of the brewery that is not air-conditioned, a far cry from competitors like St. Arnold's and Karbach, which both feature expansive guest space.
“From the beginning, we set out to create something Houston could be proud of," Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.’s founder and CEO Rassul Zarinfar said.
With the help of Method Architecture, Buffalo Bayou is upping the ante. Upon entering through a 25-foot-tall cutout of a buffalo head, guests will be greeted in the first-floor production area viewable from a theater-in-the-round-designed tasting bar. The second floor will feature windows that overlook the expansive brew-making operation. Renderings show a rooftop patio on the third floor, allowing patrons an even better view of downtown and the surrounding area. For those who wish to take their suds Silos-side, the first floor will open to an outside dog-friendly beer garden.
"As Houston’s most creative brewery, we wanted the architecture to embody the spirit and values of the company,” Method’s project team lead Jackie Rye said.
Buffalo Bayou's new location also sets it apart. Zarinfar is working with Jon Deal, one of Sawyer Yards' developers. The former industrial area bisected by train tracks has been transformed into a sprawling retail center and art collective, boasting 355 artists alongside a growing number of restaurants and other creative enterprises. The area also has become a hotbed for food trucks.
Sawyer Yards is the heart of what is now officially known as the Washington Avenue Arts District. The state-recognized district encompassing Houston's historic first and sixth wards is being overseen by Fresh Arts, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening the sustainability and vibrancy of Houston's arts sector.
Buffalo Bayou is riding a wave of craft brewing sweeping the state. Founded in 2012, Buffalo Bayou was one of Houston's first craft brewers. Since then, the numbers have exploded. In June 2013, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bills 515, 516, 517, 518 and 639, allowing breweries in Texas to grow like wildfire. The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission has licenses for 150 brewpubs and 107 breweries as of 2016, compared to three brewpubs and 12 breweries in 2012.
A major factor of craft brewing's expansion is the inclusion of taprooms and brewpubs, allowed by the new Texas legislation. After years of dedicated fans braving the brewery's current state, Buffalo Bayou will soon make its debut to the masses.