Micro breweries like Great Lakes Brewing Company help to brew things up in downtown areas

CLEVELAND - Small beer business are credited across the country with contributing to the revitalizing of downtown.

The Associated Press recently singled out six breweries, including the Great Lakes Brewing Company, located near the West Side Market.

"It was a little scary sometimes," said Mary Asmus who has been a sever for the company since 1989.

Last week, she celebrated 24 years. She said the streets have changed tremendously since she first started. "We didn't go out at night by ourselves," she continued.

In 1980, there were only 80 small beer companies across the country, and now there are more than 2,000. Great Lakes was the first in Ohio and it opened at a time when many business were struggling. "In 1988, it was kind of like abandoned buildings.

"Not too much going on," said Jack Johnson, a long time customer of the brewery.

Craft beer now makes up nearly 7 percent of the U.S. beer market. Micro breweries in Ohio City have helped bring in other businesses and with a vibrant West Side Market, many are thinking business may continue to brew in an area once considered a "blight."

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