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Erie County bicentennial brew taps into tradition


Mon, May 17th 2021 04:40 pm

Flying Bison Brewery’s ‘EC200 Parks and Rec Pilsener’ ready for market; Poloncarz, Herzog, members of EC200 committee join to tap first keg

√ Commemorative bottles to be added to collection at Buffalo History Museum

Erie County’s ongoing bicentennial celebration got a hoppy boost with the introduction of Flying Bison Brewery’s “Parks and Rec Pilsener,” a special-edition bicentennial brew that is now available for purchase locally. Crafted with hops grown in Eden, the tasty local libation was created by Flying Bison as a part of the county’s bicentennial celebration, which began April 2 and will continue through April 2022.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz joined Flying Bison Brewery founder Tim Herzog and EC200 committee co-chair Melissa Brown, along with other EC200 committee members, at Flying Bison’s Seneca Street Brewery to tap the first keg of Parks and Rec Pilsener on Friday afternoon.

“Erie County’s brewing history is rich and vibrant, a big part of who we are as a community and something to celebrate during our bicentennial year,” Poloncarz said. “Tapping into that history today is wonderful, but there are many exciting EC200 programs and activities coming up through the year to educate and inform, and I encourage residents to take part in as many as they can. I also thank Tim Herzog and the Flying Bison Brewing Co. for adding Parks and Rec Pilsener to the celebration.”

Herzog said, “The beer folks at Flying Bison are thrilled to be taking part in EC200 celebrations and spotlighting brewing heritage. We are working on a number of related events throughout the summer that will be fun, educational and a great chance to celebrate Erie County’s bicentennial.”

(Submitted image)


Brown added, “Our region’s brewery history connects generations across time. The Buffalo History Museum’s upcoming exhibit and signature contribution to EC200 – ‘Continuum’ – will highlight the early years of brewery history. The revitalization of this trade and craft as seen through the work of Flying Bison reminds us history is made every day. We are very excited to accept these commemorative bottles of Parks and Rec Pilsener into the community’s collection. Through contemporary collecting like this, the museum can ensure that our times can be reflected and learned from by future generations.”

Planning for EC200 began almost two years ago with an organizational effort that included the county executive’s office along with Brown, Erie County Historian Douglas Kohler, and a few dozen local historical, cultural and community stakeholders.

The group grew to include hundreds of volunteers working on programming, marketing, inclusion and outreach for the yearlong bicentennial celebration. Committee work is focused on education, programming, marketing, media/social media, and diversity and inclusion.

A sampling of the organizations joining Flying Bison Brewing Co. and the Erie County departments of Environment & Planning and Parks, Recreation and Forestry in presenting EC200 include Visit Buffalo Niagara, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Hispanic Heritage, the Buffalo History Museum, Explore and More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum, the Baird Foundation, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, EPIC, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the WNY Pride Center.

For more information on EC200, visit https://www3.erie.gov/ec200/.


On April 2, 1821, New York state officially recognized Erie County. After the American Revolution, the Holland Land Co. purchased 3.2 million acres of land from the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). In 1808, New York organized the western-most land as Niagara County.

By 1821, the population had increased so much that Niagara County was split. Erie County, the land south of Tonawanda Creek, consisted of 10 towns and the Buffalo Creek Reservation. Today, Erie County has 25 towns, three cities, two tribal territories and a population of approximately 920,000.

Erie County has ties to several U.S. presidents. Millard Fillmore practiced law in East Aurora before serving as commander-in-chief. He returned to Erie County and helped establish the University of Buffalo, Buffalo General Hospital and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Grover Cleveland practiced law in Buffalo before becoming Erie County sheriff, Buffalo mayor and governor of New York. He married Buffalo’s Frances Folsom. In 1901, William McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo and, on Sept. 14 of that year, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in at the Wilcox Mansion as the nation’s 26th president.

Once heavily forested frontier, the region changed as the Erie Canal brought prosperity and made the Niagara Frontier one of the largest shipping and rail centers in the country.

Erie County is home to numerous inventors and inventions – the Ball canning jar, Barcalounger and air conditioning all originated in Buffalo. Wilson Greatbatch developed the implantable pacemaker in Clarence, and Bell Aircraft was one of the nation’s largest suppliers of aircraft during WWII.

Erie County boasts many major works by both local and national architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson, E.B. Green, William Wicks and Louise Bethune. Famous writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain and Lauren Belfer have all called the area “home.” Erie County has also given the world Fisher-Price toys and the chicken wing.

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