Great Lakes Brewing Company

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Not to be confused with Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto).
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1988
Headquarters 2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio
United States
Coordinates 41°29′4.04″N 81°42′15.81″W / 41.4844556°N 81.7043917°W / 41.4844556; -81.7043917 (GLBC)Coordinates: 41°29′4.04″N 81°42′15.81″W / 41.4844556°N 81.7043917°W / 41.4844556; -81.7043917 (GLBC)
Products Beer
Owners Patrick and Daniel Conway (Independent)

Great Lakes Brewing Company is a brewery and brewpub in Cleveland, Ohio. The first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio,[1] it has been called important to Cleveland's local identity.[2] In 2011, it was the 18th-largest craft brewery and 27th-largest overall brewery in the United States.[3]

The company brews in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.[4]

The company was established in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood, across the street from St. Ignatius High School and the West Side Market. The brewpub and restaurant remain in their original locations, while production has expanded to adjacent properties.

As of 2012, Great Lakes' products are heavily distributed in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. They can be found in Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Southeast Michigan, Indiana, and west to Minnesota, south to North Carolina and east to Syracuse, NY, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.[5]



Beer Pack  % ABV IBU Description
Burning River Pale Ale 6/12 6.0 45 An award-winning American Pale Ale named for the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River.[6]
Commodore Perry IPA 6/12 7.5 80 An India Pale Ale named in honor of American Naval Officer, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, whose contributions in the War of 1812 include the Battle of Lake Erie.[7]
Dortmunder Gold 6/12 5.8 30 An award-winning Dortmunder-style lager which was originally named The Heisman after the famous football player and Cleveland native. It is GLBC's first beer, as well as the brewery's best seller.[8][9]
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter 6 5.8 37 A Porter named for the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, a ship that frequented Cleveland ports and sank in 1975 with many Northeastern Ohioans aboard. Consistent with the Conway brothers environmentally-conscious objectives, the local Cleveland ice cream manufacturer, Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream, uses the GLBC's leftover porter to make a flavor known as Edmund Fitzgerald Chocolate Chunk. Edmund Fitzgerald Porter is often named in the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) as the most stylistically correct representative of a porter within the porter category.[9][10]
Eliot Ness Amber Lager 6/12 6.2 35 An Amber Lager named after Eliot Ness, the famed prohibition agent and eventual Director of Public Safety in Cleveland. Ness frequented a tavern which is now the site of the GLBC's brewpub, and also has a connection to the Conway family: GLBC co-founders Pat and Dan's mother served as one of Ness's stenographers during his time in Cleveland.[9][11]


Beer Pack  % ABV IBU Availability Description
Conway's Irish Ale 6 6.5 25 January–April Named after Patrick Conway, a Cleveland policeman who directed traffic for 25 years near the brewery, and the grandfather of brewery owners Patrick and Daniel Conway.[12]
Chillwave Double IPA 4 9.4 80 February A double IPA named as a tribute to Lake Erie surfers.[13]
Rye of the Tiger IPA 6 7.5 92 April An IPA brewed with rye malt.[14]
Lake Erie Monster 4 9.1 72 May–July An unfiltered Imperial India Pale Ale, named to honor Bessie, the monster allegedly living in Lake Erie.[15]
The Wright Pils 6 5.3 35 June–July A classic Bohemian styled Pilsner, named to honor the Wright brothers, native Ohioans who invented the first successful airplane.[16]
Oktoberfest 6 6.5 20 July–October GLBC's interpretation of this Bavarian festival's namesake Märzenbier, a tribute to Cleveland's German heritage.[17]
Nosferatu 4 8.0 75 September–October An Imperial Red Ale Named for the 1920s German movie Nosferatu.[18]
Blackout Stout 4 9.0 85 November–January A Russian Imperial Stout named in commemoration of the 2003 North America blackout.[19]
Christmas Ale 6 7.5 40 November–December Produced for only eight weeks, during the holiday season, it is the GLBC's second-biggest seller; most of it never leaves the Cleveland area.[9][20]

Pub Exclusives[21][edit]

A bottle of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold pale lager beer

GLBC brews many beers which are only available at their brewpub and restaurant or are sometimes seasonally available on tap in some Northeastern Ohio pubs. A short list of these include Ohio City Oatmeal Stout, an IPA named Hop Madness (which was for a short period in 2010 known as Quitness as a jab at LeBron James defection to Miami) and Moondog ESB.[22]


Great Lakes Brewing Company has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote sustainability, including recycling promotional materials to create fuel for heating an outdoor structure, the use of straw-bale construction (incidentally the first straw-bale structure in Cleveland), the composting of leftovers from the brewery's restaurant, and the use of local and organic food. The brewery also provides barley left over from the brewing process to local farmers for use as feed and to local bakers who use it to produce bread and pretzels.[23] In addition, the delivery trucks are equipped to use biodiesel and are fueled with left-over vegetable oil from the restaurant. The brewery also uses outside air for cooling during winter months, rather than conventional refrigeration units.[24] The organization is growing, with 5800 members in 2008.

Great Lakes Brewing Company also hosts the meetings of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, a business network in the Greater Cleveland area focusing on sustainability and entrepreneurship.[24] The brewery has set up displays at a number of sustainability-oriented events, including a 2006 "greener living fair" at Ohio State University,[25] and the "green pavilion" of the 2009 Cleveland Home and Garden Show at the I-X Center.[26]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Sandy. Great Lakes Brewery. Cleveland. June 13, 2008.
  2. ^ Steven M. Schnell, Joseph F. Reese, "Microbreweries as Tools of Local Identity", Journal of Cultural Geography, Vol. 21, 2003.
  3. ^ "Brewers Association Releases Top 50 Breweries in 2011" (Press release). Brewers Association. April 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  4. ^ Bottles of Great Lakes varieties contain the following disclaimer: "In keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, this beer is traditionally brewed from all natural ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, and water. No chemicals or preservatives are used."
  5. ^ "GLBC Distribution". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  6. ^ "Burning River Pale Ale". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. Named after the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. 
  7. ^ "Commodore Perry IPA". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. This monumental India Pale Ale honors the hero from The War of 1812 who battled the enemy on Lake Erie. 
  8. ^ "Our Story - The Beginning". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. The first brew, a Dortmunder-style beer originally called The Heisman (named for the famed football player who lived around the corner from Great Lakes Brewing Company) was an overnight success. 
  9. ^ a b c d
  10. ^ "Edmund Fitzgerald Porter". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. Named after the ship that frequently docked in Cleveland and sunk in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975 with many Northeast Ohioans on board. 
  11. ^ "Eliot Ness Amber Lager". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-11. Named after one of Cleveland's most respected safety directors who frequented the Brewpub's bar during his tenure from 1935-1941 and, according to popular legend, was responsible for the bullet holes in the bar still evident today. 
  12. ^ "Conway's Irish Ale". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. Named after Patrick Conway, the grandfather of co-owners Patrick and Daniel Conway and a Cleveland policeman who directed traffic for 25 years near the brewery. 
  13. ^ "Alchemy Hour Double IPA" (PDF). Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  14. ^ "Rye of the Tiger" (PDF). Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  15. ^ "Lake Erie Monster". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  16. ^ "The Wright Pils". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  17. ^ "Oktoberfest". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  18. ^ "Nosferatu". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. Named after the notorious German vampire from the 1920s film era. 
  19. ^ "Blackout Stout". Great Lakes Brewing Company. Retrieved 2007-12-10. Named after the infamous "Blackout of 2003" that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and down-home fun. 
  20. ^ "Christmas Ale". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  21. ^ "Pub Exclusive Beer". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  22. ^ "Pub Exclusives". Great Lakes Brewing Company. 
  23. ^ "Local Brewery Gives Barley To Farmers, Grain To Bakers", Feb. 26, 2009.
  24. ^ a b "Unconventional brewery pours over strategies; Brothers push sustainability in Cleveland.(Pat Conway and Dan Conway of Great Lakes Brewing Co.)", Waste News, Feb. 19th, 2007.
  25. ^ "Ohio State U.: Fair promotes greener living to Ohio State U. students.", The America's Intelligence Wire, Oct. 9th, 2006.
  26. ^ "Cleveland home and garden show opens today at I-X Center, captures beauty of Paris", Norwalk Reflector, Feb. 7 2009.

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