Spotlight: Forest City Brewery
Join us as we talk with Forest City Brewery about their commitment to working with their local community and supporting fellow local businesses.
How did your business get its start?
Matt Mapus and I wanted to start a small business, we loved beer, and had been consuming craft beer for around 25 years. We liked the fact that it was a manufacturing business, and could help bolster a neighborhood as well.
How long have you been in business?
Almost two years. Our anniversary is June 3rd.
What do you like most about your job?
The people from the neighborhood, our friends in the brewing community and our loyal customers.
What do you like best about working in Cleveland?
It’s my hometown, so I pretty much like everything about Cleveland.
What makes Forest City Brewery so unique?
Our Head Brewer, Jim Waltz, has over 15 years experience professionally brewing beer, making wine and distilling whiskey and liquors. This, combined with the fact that we are located in a building with honey wine manufacturer Western Reserve Meadery, and coffee roaster duck-rabbit coffee, allow our brews to be very diverse, but we still remain true to traditional beer styles. For example, we brew a beer called “Duckenstein”. It is a Belgian Style Dubbel, where we use honey selected by Western Reserve Meadery and a hint of coffee selected by duck-rabbit coffee in the brew. The beer holds true to a Dubbel because the flavor profiles of the ingredients mimic that of traditionally used ingredients.
What does keep it local mean to you and your business?
It means we are a part of our immediate community and the overall Cleveland community in every aspect of our business. We try not to use any “big box” products in our purchasing or processes. For example, we buy our pickles at the brewery from Wake Robin Fermented Foods. Molly, one of the owners of the business, happens to be our neighbor. We buy our cider, mead, and coffee from local suppliers, and use food purchased at the West Side market for all of the menu items. Our building has become a community hub. We host our block club meetings here and have hosted many nonprofit events, including those for our local church, St. Wendelin, and Tremont Trek, etc. Even the use of our waste product goes to a local business, EverArbor. They use the spent brewing grains from Forest City Brewery, Bottlehouse Brewery & Brick & Barrel Brewery, along with spent coffee grounds from duck-rabbit coffee and the Root Cafe in Lakewood to make a soil fertilizer called Everbrew, We are also a part of the Craft Beverage Guild of Cleveland, which is a group of local small craft beverage makers in the area that help each other out.
How did you come up with your business name?
Forest City is Cleveland’s nickname since the late 1830’s after author Alexis De Touqueville toured the United States, and spent a few hours in Cleveland raving about our city. His book “Democracy in America” became a best seller in Europe for many years, and helped spur immigration to the United States, including Cleveland. Cleveland’s first baseball team was called the Forest City’s, and many local business names continue to be called Forest City!
Are there any details about your company that you want everyone to know about?
Our building site is also home to Ohio’s oldest Beer Garden, the Atlantic Tavern and Beer Garden, which was recorded to be on the property as early as 1865. 10,000 sq ft. of the original Beer Garden is still here, and being used every day by our customers. The curretn garden is home to original trees which shade about 50% of the overall garden. We also took an old-school approach to the design of the Beer Garden. There is actual grass in our beer garden, we only have one picnic table, but lots of individual seating, and separate areas for small groups to hang out in. We have noticed that our good neighbors in Duck Island love the Beer Garden because it offers green space where not much green space exists anymore. The garden also attracts bicyclists and runners that frequent the Redline Greenway and Towpath Trails. Locals are always stopping by with their dogs. We do have cornhole in the Beer Garden, and are excited to announce we are adding Bocce courts in the very near future.
Do you offer any special services?
We are fortunate enough to own a 4,800 sq. ft. Beer Hall that we use for all sorts of community events. We have hosted book signings, Balance and Brews yoga, Emerge MicroCinema, Story Club, Forest City Beer Runs, Shareapy comedy shows, Swing Dancing, letter signings, non-profit events, birthday parties, wedding showers, holiday parties, weddings, Art groups and all sorts of functions in the 95 person hall.
Ready to learn more about Forest City Brewery? Click here!