New brew honors legacy of longtime Lockport businessman

CONTRIBUTED ART Walter Kohl is pictured in this photo (right) with his wife Anna (left). 

A longtime Niagara County businessman - known to many as a local legend - has been memorialized by a new New York Beer Project brew.

The South Transit Street brewery hosted a release party Thursday night for their Walter Kohlsch beer. The brew is named after Lockport motorcycle repair shop owner Walter Kohl.

Kohl operated a motorcycle repair shop from the 1950s to 1972 on the South Transit Road property where the New York Beer Project currently stands. In 1972, a fire at the shop caused Kohl to move his repair shop to Richmond Avenue by Canal Street. He operated the shop before moving out to Wrights' Corners in the mid 1990s.

Kohl also owned a warehouse full of bikes on Clinton Street, which wwas sold before his death in 2002.

Martha Howe, Kohl's daughter, was in attendance at the Walter Kohlsch release party Thursday evening. She lived in the house on the same property as the repair shop.

“It was always a good location, with all of the traffic coming from Erie County,” Howe said in an earlier phone call.

Howe still lives on South Transit Road in the house her mother's parents used to own.

She said she contacted Kelly and Kevin Krupski, owners of the New York Beer Project, when they first opened last year.

“We have so many people who tell us they used to come to this exact spot all the time with their dads to get a motorcycle part from Walter and his wife Anna,” Kelly Krupski said. “We felt really strongly about honoring the former owner of the property with a reference to him in this beer, created right where he lived.”

What would Walter think of the summer beer being named after him?

“He'd absolutely love it,” Howe laughed. “He loved to see his name up in lights.”