Interview with Rust Belt Rising Star Brewer Reed Jaskula of Platform Beer Co.

by Caroline Hachett
December 2016

Caroline Hatchett: How did you get your start?
Reed Jaskula:
Paul Benner was opening a home brew shop, and that’s where I started. I was in sales as an executive for Target. It came down to making a lot of money or being happy, and I chose happy. I loved home brewing, and it was my foot in the door. 

CH: Who's your mentor?
RJ:
I read a lot of books. I think I read like every brewing book out there before I even tried to make a home brew batch. I haven’t had a solid mentor. I just developed my own style from the information I read and the beers I drank. My family comes from a cooking background. We’re Polish, so we ate a lot of stews, and it all just sort of came together naturally.

CH: How are you involved in the local culinary community?
RJ:
I could go to Brick and Barrel and borrow some yeast or a barrel tool or drink, and their team knows they can do the same. We all started home brewing together, so we’re all kind of new to the scene. Before us it was pretty much Great Lakes, Market Garden, and Bottle House. Now there’s like 32 of us. Before we were here, the block was condemned, but now the neighborhood is growing and we’re excited to be a part of it. 

CH: What's your five-year plan?
RJ:
We’re just trying to make consistently good beer and get it into our local market right now. We’re not trying to just take off. We want to do what’s right by Cleveland first, and then, who knows. At the production facility we brought in a head brewer. We have a guy from Half Acre that we just brought on. We’re trying to bring in as much talent as we can.

CH: Tell me about your brew space?
RJ:
We set up a different structure so we didn’t have to take on investors. We’re leasing space from other investors so we maintain control of our brewery. We have a 120,000-square foot building around the corner, so we have unlimited tank space. The building was the largest brewery pre-Prohibition in Cleveland and had 750,000 barrels at its peak. Pre-Prohibition beer was the bees knees. The building was vacant for 30 years, so we decided to give it life again.