Anyone who was walking through the Walden Galleria on Groundhog Day may have seen a four-foot-by-six-foot metal buffalo outside the World of Beer restaurant.
That Buffalo, which was adorned with the logos of many different Buffalo-area breweries, was the first promotional activity by a small metalworking shop called Buffalo Brew Fab, based in Cheektowaga and specializing in products that enhance one’s drinking experience. These include keg urinals, keg tables, metal signs, on-site welding, and draft towers.
Buffalo Brew Fab is the brainchild of Brandon Farrell, a lifelong metalworker whose father, a metal fabricator himself, was his first boss in the industry. When his father died, Farrell knew he didn’t want to work seven days a week, as his father did, because life was too short to not live to the fullest.
His inspiration for the company he would launch came during a vacation to Tampa, Fla., when he and his fiancé visited a brewery there and saw tables made out of kegs.
“I thought to myself, ‘I could build that. I could build it better,’” Farrell said.
So Farrell started keg work in his garage, ordering a keg off eBay and making his first keg table. 12 Gates Brewery in Williamsville reached out to him soon after and became his first customer.
“When I first started, it was more of a hobby,” Farrell said. “I just wanted to see where it goes, then I just kept getting busier and busier.”
Buffalo Brew Fab has been in business for three years now, and the shop has sold products in 27 states and two countries. Farrell employs one welder and one manager, and he hopes to eventually grow to 10 or 15 employees in the future.
Keg urinals, Farrell’s self-described bread and butter, initially took him about three days to make, but he now has the process down to a six-hour job. The time it takes to complete other products depends on how big they are. Farrell uses a computer for help in making logos on metal signs. Once the logo is uploaded onto a computer and a machine starts cutting into the metal, it takes about a day to finish.
Farrell says right now, Buffalo Brew Fab is working in a hundred different directions. They have worked with Buffalo Brewfest and local artists, make table bases for custom furniture, and do on-site welding. They even made a metal sign that hangs inside World of Beer.
Farrell does most of the metalworking in-house, but he will occasionally bring in outside help for some jobs.
Born and raised in the Buffalo area, Farrell noted that Buffalo is a very tightknit community, where people and businesses look out for one another. He said that the number of projects he received from local startups has allowed for the expansion of Buffalo Brew Fab.
“People reach out to me, not just for keg work, but for other custom products I make for bars, restaurants, and homes,” Farrell said. “It’s a very word-of-mouth kind of city.”
In addition to working on Buffalo Brew Fab, Farrell also works full time as a metal welder, so he has struggled making enough time for that job, his own business, and having enough time for his family.
“Really, you just have to work hard,” Farrell said. “Sometimes you have late nights, and have early work to do before going to a shift at the next job.”
Farrell would like to take Buffalo Brew Fab to a new level; not necessarily a large manufacturing company, but a bigger shop with employees who know how to work hard and enjoy their job.
This summer, Farrell plans to attend different brewery events to promote Buffalo Brew Fab and its products.
“This is the year we’re pushing the business,” Farrell said. “You will see us around a lot more.”