From its earliest beginnings, Great Lakes Brewing Company made an unwavering commitment to offer customers the most flavorful, freshest beer in the business by settling in a neighborhood that was once the heart of Cleveland's brewing industry. Established in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, Great Lakes Brewing Company became the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio and today remains Ohio's most celebrated and award-winning brewer of lagers and ales.
Possessing a healthy respect for the fine art and science of brewing, the Conways invited Master Brewer Thaine Johnson (1921-2005) to join them during the company's earliest days. Johnson (whose three decades of experience as a brewer included managing Cleveland's last remaining brewery, Christian Schmidt) played a key role in working with the Conways to develop the recipes for their first beers. "From the beginning, we incorporated the techniques of brewing used by European brewers in our own craft brewing process," explains co-owner Patrick Conway. "We were determined to use only the freshest ingredients with no preservatives or chemicals. We also refused to succumb to pasteurization, which ultimately compromises flavor."
Approximately 1,000 barrels were produced during the first year. 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. The flagship brew was eventually renamed Dortmunder Gold and was joined by other award-winning brews including Blackout Stout, Burning River Pale Ale, Christmas Ale, Commodore Perry India Pale Ale, Conway's Irish Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Holy Moses White Ale, Nosferatu Ale and Oktoberfest. – less–ZoomInfo