Saturday, Buffalonians proved that they will line up for more than Popeyes fried chicken and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. They also will line up for vodka.
Not just any vodka, though. People queued up for as much as two hours to buy Lockhouse Distillery’s signature product, distilled from grapes grown in Lockport, for $35 a bottle. It was the third release from the first distillery to open in Buffalo since Prohibition.
Buffalo’s producer of boutique vodka started selling after Thanksgiving and has seen so much demand that it’s knocking down walls in its Great Arrow Avenue space and ordering stills to increase its liquor output tenfold. Lockhouse has made almost 2,000 bottles so far and sold every one, said business manager Thomas Jablonski.
“We planned to be busy, but we could never have fathomed the kind of excitement that people had,” Jablonski said. “We’ve put out a quality product that’s hit a note with some people.”
The operation’s 100-gallon stills have been running 22 hours a day, operating six days a week to produce 300 to 400 750-milliliter bottles.
“We can’t even make enough at this point to meet the demand from people who are willing to leave their house on Saturday and wait in line outside, much less be able to distribute to bars, restaurants and liquor stores,” he said.
Those stills can make more than vodka, too. The first barrel of rye is already aging, and a gin is planned for summer.
By this summer, Lockhouse plans to quadruple its site to 4,000 square feet and install two more stills, of 600- and 300-gallon capacity.
“By this summer, we hope to be able to offer Buffalo its own gin and a digestif after-dinner drink. “We should have significant amounts of rye available by 2015,” he said. “Full steam ahead.”
Black Rock gourmet bakery Delish will premiere its new line of gluten-friendly baked goods with a tasting from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Owner Deb Clark said she’s been working on the recipes for two years. There are pecan pies, peanut butter crisp bars, chocolate caramel shortbread bars, cupcakes, macaroons and more. The treats are made with gluten-free ingredients, but Clark calls them “gluten-friendly” because they’re baked in a kitchen that also makes non-gluten-free items. So people with extreme gluten sensitivities can be cautious.
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