One of the fastest growing regional craft breweries in the country, Platform Beer Co., is pushing in its chips and accepting an offer to join Anheuser-Busch’s Brewers Collective.
“In speaking with the other craft brewery founders in Brewers Collective, we know partnering with Anheuser-Busch means we will have the resources and the autonomy to bring our vision for Platform Beer Co. to life,” said Platform co-founder Paul Benner. “Being able to continue leading the day-to-day operations was an important factor in our decision and we have no doubt that this partnership will benefit our loyal staff and passionate customer base.”
Founded in Cleveland by Benner and Justin Carson in 2014, the brewery has made been keenly focused on being experimental in both its brewing and market strategy. It burst on the scene in 2014 with sleek cans and a constantly new selection of beers (beyond two core beers and few seasonals it never brews the same beer twice). Platform pumps out more than 200 unique beers per year, not to mention its forays into ciders and hard seltzers. Check out our On The Scene video interview with Platform earlier this year for more on this strategy:
What drew A-B to Platform was that data-driven, fast-paced approach to beer creation and distribution combined with its brick-and-mortar footprint in Ohio’s three largest metropolitan cities: Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
Platform now owns and operates four facilities in Ohio: their flagship Cleveland tasting room, a 60 barrel (BBL) Cleveland-based brewhouse, a tasting room in Columbus which doubles as a distribution center and warehouse, and their Cincinnati Tasting Room and coffee shop concept “LOCOBA”. More growth is on the way with Platform’s first dedicated sour beer brewing facility and on-site tasting room – “Phunkenship” – opening soon in Cleveland, and a 10 BBL brewery and tasting room in Pittsburgh to open in the near future.
In the last three years, Anheuser-Busch says it has invested more than $130 million in its collective, post-partnerships, to hire new employees, open new facilities and brew more beer.
“We are excited to invest even more into our local economy through capital improvements and job creation,” added co-founder Justin Carson. “We will be able to provide our staff with resources like robust healthcare benefits including parental leave, 401K and growth opportunities that we currently don’t have and will make Platform an even better place to work and grow.”
Anheuser-Busch InBev has been much quieter on the craft beer acquisition front ever since it joined global forces with SAB Miller (which we dubbed Beer Voltron at the time). Its antitrust settlement with the Department of Justice, as part of that SAB Miller merger, stipulated that any future craft brewery acquisitions would need DOJ approval. The last entrant to the Collective team was Wicked Weed in 2017. AB InBev’s market share in the United States came in at 40.8 percent in 2018 (down from 48 percent in 2008).
The Brewers Collective, along with Platform, now includes: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Blue Point Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing Company, Four Peaks Brewing Co., Golden Road Brewing, Goose Island Beer Company, Karbach Brewing Co., Veza Sur Brewing Co., Virtue Cider, and Wicked Weed Brewing.