BUFFALO, N.Y. — We might be celebrating Dyngus Day in the middle of a pandemic — again — but there are still ways to celebrate. Along Seneca Street in Buffalo, it’s in the form of liquid gold. Behind the bar of the beloved Buffalo Distilling Company, work that takes years to finish, is underway.
“Start to finish it takes about a week, and then it sits in a barrel for about four years,” said Kevin Ford, head distiller at Buffalo Distilling Company, as he stood over a giant still.
That’s just for some of the spirits crafted inside the 800 Seneca Facility. The Krupnik takes far less time.
“That takes about a year,” said Andy Wegrzyn, creator of Buffalo Distilling.
It’s safe to say the first sniff following a freshly opened barrel is well worth the wait, especially since last year’s Dyngus Day celebrations dried up.
“To get that back to where it was, then I am sure it will go from there, it will be so great,” Wegrzyn said.
When COVID-19 first arrived in WNY, Wegrzyn, Ford, and company switched gears to keep us safe. Three hundred gallons of gin were used to make hand sanitizer.
“Going into a bottle this big, you know four ounces or something,” Wegrzyn showed. “Then we were shipping it off to businesses.”
Wegrzyn recalls there being a line down the block.
“It’s kind of cool that it’s part of our history,” he added.
They were just patching a hole.
“Hopefully that never happens again, knock on wood,” Wegrzyn said as he tapped the counter. “We really don’t want to be in the hand sanitizing business.”
Instead, it’s the business of sealing up the honey polish liquor, and proudly pouring out this unique libation.
“[There’s only] one other man in the world barreling Krupnik,” Wegrzyn said.
What is life like for the white oak barrels after aging Krupnik? Buffalo Distilling actually passes them along to local breweries. At 42 North Brewing in East Aurora, there’s a new “The Krupnik Barrel-Aged Quad” beer that’s now available.