Bemus Point will be getting a big taste of Ellicottville’s finest this summer when Ellicottville Brewing Company opens EBC on Chautauqua. Taking over the former Bemus Surf Club, expect the taps to start pouring around mid-June. Their expansion into the heavy Southern Tier now gives EBC three locations, each one offering beer lovers a totally different vibe and experience.
If you were to take a lake town equivalent to Ellicottville’s ski town vibe, Bemus Point would be the match. Nestled right on Chautauqua Lake, it’s a favorite spot for boating, fishing and nightlife. The former Surf Club, which is dead center of town, closed a couple years ago - and such a cool building deserves to be alive. EBC owner Peter Kreinheder knows his new spot will bring the vibe.
“Structurally, the building is awesome,” he said. “But aesthetically, we knew it could use some work. We’ve got Michael Nickolson (of Ellicottville) doing the renovations. There are these big, glass garage doors that will open to a pergola overlooking the water. And (hopefully) by next summer, we’ll have rooftop seating. It’s going to be really cool.”
EBC’s different locations play to the local theme, and are décor’d accordingly. The flagship in Ellicottville has high ceilings and beautiful rustic timber (playing on the ski lodge idea). The Chautauqua location will be more of a lake and water feel, with firepits and brass chandeliers.
“We’re going to have a nano brewery system there, which I know a lot of the crew is excited about,” Kreinheder said. “We’re bringing some more guys on, and they’ll be on a rotation of who goes over there. It will also let us do some experimenting with different brews, and we’ll definitely be making some beers that play on the area. We’ve talked to the Chautauqua Institution about doing one.”
A building sitting empty in any town is never a good thing, especially one like Bemus. EBC wanted to broaden its own horizons by expanding into the lake town - as well as helping the town itself.
“It’s a triangle of entertainment sort of experiment,” Kreinheder said. “It’s a college town thing (referencing EBC’s Fredonia location), a lake town thing, and a ski town thing. We’ve got all of our bases covered. We know that it will be a similar type of clientele that we get in Ellicottville and Fredonia.”
The menu will be smaller than the ones at the two other locations, but Kreinheder said there’s always room to grow. Seating capacity will hover around 170, while total bar capacity will hit closer to 300.
Dan Minner, EBC’s head brewer, said expanding is always exciting for himself and his crew.
“We’ll have some guys that used to work here coming back, and it’ll be cool for some of the guys to experience something different,” he said. “There’s going to be two 16 tower draft systems, with a bunch of our beer and some other New York regional stuff. What we’re really excited about is being able to experiment with different brews with the nano system.”
Minner also hopes to be able to offer some educational beer brewing programs at the new location. With the operation in Ellicottville as big as it is, it’s fun for people to see how the process is done, but difficult for them to be hands-on. With a micro system, EBC will be able to keep it a little more contained and easier for people to get involved with the process.
“It’s always super boring if you don’t keep growing,” Kreinheder said. “We’re so excited about the new spot. We think Bemus is the perfect place for us to expand to, because it’s so similar to the vibes in Ellicottville and Fredonia. It’s a big, open space, and it’s always fun to be on the water on beautiful summer nights.”