Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christian Moerlein Brewing Company

The Christian Moerlein bottling plant on 1916 Elm Street

Christian Moerlein was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1818.  He came to the United States in 1841 and settled in Cincinnati in 1842.  He started out as a blacksmith in Cincinnati but soon converted his shop into a brewery.  Moerlein partnered with Adam Dillmann to establish the Elm Street Brewery on the site of his blacksmith shop.  The brewery was located on Elm Street near Henry Street and they operated the brewery at this location until 1854 when Dillmann passed away.  After Dillmann’s passing, Conrad Windisch partners with Christian Moerlein.  In 1866 Moerlein becomes the sole owner of the brewery.  In 1868 Moerlein builds a new brewery on the corner of Elm and Henry and establishes it as the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company.

The Christian Moerlein icehouse on Henry Street
Christian Moerlein became one of the most prominent brewers in the country and his beer was shipped around the United States, Europe, and South America.  At the time it was the only beer exported from Cincinnati outside of the United States.

Christian Moerlein passed away in 1897.  The brewery continued operations until the start of prohibition.

The Christian Moerlein home (left) and office (right) on 2017-2023 Elm Street

At one time the brewery took up several blocks in Over-The-Rhine.  The buildings associated with Christian Moerlein and the brewery operations that remain are the Christian Moerlein home on the corner of Mulberry and Loth, the Barrel House located at 1910 Elm Street, the bottling plant at 1916 Elm Street, the icehouse on Henry, the company stable located on the corner of Henry and Dunlap, his home on 2017 Elm Street, and the office located at 2019 Elm Street.  Based on records found by Digging Cincinnati History, there are some questions as to the actual use of these buildings.

The Christian Moerlein home on the corner of Mulberry and Loft

In 1981 the Christian Moerlein name was revived in a craft beer brewed by Hudepohl and in 2004, the Christian Moerlein Brewery was reestablished by Greg Hardman.

Recently the brewery structures have found new use.  In 2013, the Rhinegeist Brewery opened its doors in the old barrelhouse on 1910 Elm Street.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lafayette Brewery

This brewery got its start when Friedrich Billiod left Peter Jonte Brewery and partnered with Thomas Billiod in 1835.  In 1847, the brewery burned to the ground but Friederich rebuilt it much larger and better.  In 1862, Friederich passes away and his wife Margaretha operates the brewery until it is sold to William Fey.  In 1869 the brewery is sold to Alexis Darusmont.  He operates the brewery until his death in 1873 and his wife Margaret takes over operations until the brewery closed in 1878.  Albert Schwill & Company, a leading producer of malt purchased the brewery in 1882.

It is interesting to note that Friederich’s bookkeeper was Heinrich Roedter, the Captain of the German Volunteer Military Company, “The Lafayette Guards”.  It is said that the military company named itself after the brewery.  Roedter later became the editor of the German newspaper, “Volksblatt”.

The Lafayette Brewery building still stands at 24 West McMicken.