Moor Pat, the standout Williamsville brewpub, will soon open a second location in the former Village Beer Merchant on Hertel Avenue, which recently closed its doors after seven years in business in order to concentrate on their flagship Elmwood Avenue location, which will remain open. Moor Pat hopes to be open early next year.
VBM Owner Brian Nelson says that the impending transition wasn’t exactly a sudden thing, all of the parties involved didn’t want to make the move public right away. He says the sale was in the works for a few months prior to it being fully executed.
“We just didn’t want rumors getting out there,” he says. “But we have sold it and Mike Shatzel and Peter Braun are putting Moor Pat in here. The timing was right and Mike and Peter want to do this, so it just worked for everyone involved and it was the right move. I almost didn’t want to admit I was doing this; this place is like a baby to me. This is what we do. It’s tough. We didn’t do this to make a lot of money. Small business is tough. We’re sad it came to this.”
He adds that a number of factors played into VBM Hertel ultimately closing down, including competition from neighboring grocery stores and a severe lack of parking.
“We opened here seven years ago thinking the neighborhood was going to be a lot like Elmwood. The parking up here is horrendous and that plays a huge role into it and especially now that within a quarter mile of us, there are three major grocery stores. People would come here on the weekends and have a pint, but I didn’t get the daily traffic of people grabbing their everyday drinkers, because when you have to drive around for ten minutes just to find a place to park to come in and buy some [Bells] Two Hearted or a six-pack of anything for that matter, that’s no good for anybody. Especially, like I said, when all of these other places that have parking are so close. Looking for parking all the time gets old. And thankfully on Elmwood I do not have that problem, which is why people stop by more often for their daily beer needs.”
“I love Hertel, I love the neighborhood and I love the people up here, but its hard for me to be at two places at once to run it. My parents are retired and moved to Florida and I was constantly drawn between both locations. Joe, who was our Hertel manager, moved to Denver almost two years ago and it was hard to really get a face up here.”
Shatzel says that he is excited to be joining the Hertel neighborhood with a second Moor Pat location, adding that he believes the Moor Pat model will be met with high praise from the area.
“Peter Braun and I are very excited to be bringing the Moor Pat to Hertel & Wellington,” Moor Pat Owner Mike Shatzel said. “The area is bustling and we think what Moor Pat provides in our draft & bottle list, atmosphere & wings will be accepted with enthusiasm.”
Shatzel hopes to have the location, which is equipped with 24 taps, open by February of next year. The new Moor Pat will also specialize in beer-brined wings, which have quickly become a staple of the original location.
Nelson adds that even though Hertel didn’t ultimately work out, he isn’t entirely opposed to opening another location somewhere else in the future. “I wouldn’t take that off the table if the opportunity came. I love this. I’ve been working in beer for 25 years. That’s why we opened up Elmwood. And since we opened there, look at how much the craft beer scene has exploded. It’s crazy. It’s everywhere.”
Again, the Elmwood Village Beer Merchant will remain open. “Elmwood is 12 years strong,” Nelson says, adding that some changes might be coming to the location, including a possible tavern license, though he says he wasn’t entirely sure about that. “We don’t bullshit, we keep fresh beer in stock and we have that hands on approach, trying to help you find something you’re going to like.”
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for Step Out Buffalo. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague) and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).