More beer, more employees as Ohio City microbreweries grow

Beer is big business in Ohio City

OHIO CITY, OH (WOIO) - Beer is big business. Not just beer, but microbreweries in Ohio, too.

The craft beer industry's economic impact in Ohio was estimated at $2.16 billion in 2014. Putting Ohio at No. 4 in the country in the production of craft beer. And Ohio City is quickly becoming the microbrew capital of Ohio with Great Lakes, Market Garden Brewery, Nano Brew and the newest pour to the group, Platform Beer Company.

"We're going through a renaissance in beer making in the state of Ohio. It's similar to other states in the United States but I feel like in Ohio we're growing a little than many others," said Paul Benner Co-Owner of Platform.

And for Platform, the beer business is booming. When they opened they could produce 32 barrels of beer in a batch. They've expanded twice and are now producing 320 barrels at a time.

"That's 1,000 percent growth in one year," Benner said with a smile. "That's not common, but the point is this is what can happen in the beer industry in today's environment."

According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, there are 140 breweries in Ohio right now, totaling about 11,000 jobs, and there are 62 more breweries in the planning stages.

"Craft beer is something that you can learn a great deal about you can get geeky with and it's very social," said Benner.

All that brewing, pouring and consuming is adding up to big dollars. When talking consumption in Ohio, it's as if every adult drank 4.7 gallons of craft beer last year.

The future is as bright as a crisp pilsner for Platform who started with five employees a year and a half ago and is now up to 25 and demand for their beer is exploding.

"It's almost scary. As soon as we put in an order for fermentation tanks, we're like, 'OK we'll be set for a little while.' A few months passes and as soon as we get those tanks we've got to put another order in."

One more number to toast you with to show the industry isn't going anywhere, in the U.S. Since 2011, the number of breweries has foamed up 252 percent. That deserves a "cheers."

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