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Platform Beer Co. closes its doors for good, Anheuser-Busch confirms

Brewing giant plans to continue producing 3 of the brand's beers
Platform Brewery
Posted at 4:35 PM, Feb 22, 2023

CLEVELAND — Platform Beer Co. has closed its doors in Cleveland for good, Anheuser-Busch confirmed to News 5 Cleveland Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, a News 5 crew saw someone scraping signage listing the business hours off of the Lorain Avenue taproom. The locks on the door also appeared to be changed.

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Platform Beer Co. opened on Lorain Ave. in 2014 as the area began seeing rapid growth and investment.

“They really were a catalyst for getting the neighborhood going a bit,” said Darren Cross, the owner of the adjacent home brewing supply story Cleveland Brew Shop.

Cross said the brewery brought new interest to neighborhood and carved out a market for other local businesses.

“It’s sad to see where it’s ended up, but I’m glad we had them for the time we did,” he told News 5.

In 2019, brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser, Michelob, and other global beer brands, acquired the brewery. It was a move that quickly expanded the brand's distribution, but also drew criticism from some. A sign posted on the brewpub by one frustrated man shortly after the closure announcement summed up the business as a "capitalism speed run." Someone from inside the store promptly removed the sign.

Wednesday's closure includes Platform brewpubs in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, as well as Cleveland-based Platform sour beer subsidiary Phunkenship. It follows a round of layoffs at a production facility in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood in August 2022 and a staff walkout at Platform’s Columbus taproom in February 2021 over pay and working conditions.

An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told News 5 it will continue producing three of the brand's beers, releasing this statement about the changes:

“As we navigate through the changing industry and operational challenges, it has become clear that Platform’s production and commercial efforts need to be focus on three beers: Haze Jude IPA, Odd Future Imperial IPA, and our new Canalway IPA. We are grateful to be part of the Ohio beer community and look forward to continuing to provide local beer drinkers with the IPAs they’ve come to love.”

Some customers told News 5 they felt blindsided by the decision to close the brewpub's doors.

“It’s just sad. It’s a sad thing that a big company would close something that means so much to the community,” said David Sefcik.

He has been part of Platform's membership club, "The Electric Company," for several years. The annual subscription gives members special merchandise, along with a pack of newly released beer from both Platform and Phunkenship, and a year-end dinner celebration.

“Monday, we received the email: ‘Your next Electric Beer is ready for pickup,'” Sefcik said.

He and others spent close to $230 on the membership and more money on gift cards they're unsure they'll be able to redeem.

“In these instances, the big guy wins and the little guy doesn’t. And that’s what hurts the most because you went in in good faith, hoping they’d be there for a full year and now they’re gone,” he said.

Anheuser-Busch has not yet responded to News 5's questions about reimbursing subscription members, how many employees will be affected by the closures or where the company plans to produce the brand's remaining beers.

Sefcik said he's concerned for those employees and to see any Cleveland business shut down.

“That was a community bar. And that’s tough," Sefcik said. "That’s tough when you’ve got to close the door.”

RELATED: Platform Beer lays off several employees at Cleveland production facility

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