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Tim Herzog, Beer Enthusiast

Get to know a Buffalonian

In 1997, Tim Herzog and a handful of friends and investors opened Flying Bison, the first stand-alone brewery in Buffalo since Iroquois Brewing bit the dust in 1972. In addition to turning out a variety of fine beers, Flying Bison has become the gold standard for good corporate citizenship: promoting local business (Herzog serves on the board of Buffalo First), exploring ways to reduce its carbon footprint (for example, donating spent grain to family-owned farms for feed), and donating kegs of beer to nearly every progressive cause and cultural institution in the region.

How does one become a brewer?

My career path goes like this: 1. graphic design, art education major at Buffalo State; 2. marriage and substitute teacher/freelance designer/beginner homebrewer; 3. father/bartender and restaurant manager/advanced homebrewer; 4. study and brew while kids are at school; 5. bump your head on something really hard, then open brewery.

Flying Bison gives away a lot of beer. I can’t begin to tell you how much of it I’ve downed at art openings, fundraisers, community events. What kind of business plan is that?

It’s not a business plan, it’s a community involvement plan and advertising budget.

Buffalo once was home to dozens of breweries. Then there were none for 25 years. How does an operation likes yours survive in a city like this?

Besides blood, sweat, and tears, giving away beer seems to be working.

How many places can a person get a glass of Flying Bison right now?

Including the taps at my house, about 101. Most stores have bottles; even the convenient style stores are starting to carry us.

What are your investor meetings like? Designated drivers?

A bunch of friends getting together to cheer on a local business. No one has swung from the lights—yet.

Do you dream about beer?

In living color with Sensurround!

Name your three all-time favorite Flying Bison brews, extant or extinct.

The one in my hand. The one I just finished. The one I will have next.

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