Something exciting is happening in Cleveland and it’s that beer is bringing a bountiful amount of success to a failing neighbourhood. Great Lakes Brewing Company (not to be confused with GLB in Toronto) is one of many brewers that are drawing people and jobs back into the core of Cleveland. What’s happening there is not unique to Cleveland and similar success can be found all over North America.
Call it a “brewery incubation system,” says Benner, one that provides space, equipment and start-up assistance for hobbyists itching to hit the beer big leagues. “We’re bridging the gap between the home and pro brewer.”
Platform’s brewhouse will also house an onsite taproom, meaning patrons will be able to sample a seasonal lineup of beers in the very space in which they’re brewed. “It’s a manufacturing place where you can have a beer,” says Benner. “People are going to feel a connection to their product.”
The business model is not all that unusual, he believes. Benner estimates that 95 percent of professional brewers started out making beer in their home kitchens. He brewed up his first batch of homebrew (summer wheat) after being introduced to the hobby by a friend. Benner was instantly hooked, and he thinks that mentality will help Platform carve out its own niche in Ohio City’s — and Cleveland’s — craft brew scene.