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YOU'VE ENTERED THE BAVARIAN BREWERY OF OLD...
The Bavarian Brewing Co., Inc., was once the largest brewer in the state of Kentucky and the largest employer in Covington, KY. Out of dozens of breweries that operated during the 19th and 20th centuries in the Cincinnati area, it's the only one with a structure remaining that was used for former Brew and Mill Houses. This edifice is visible and easily accessible off I-75 at the 12th Street Exit in Covington. (See a location map to visit.) It was formerly Brew Works and Jillian's, and was re-purposed in 2019 for office use as the Kenton County Government Center. There is a Bavarian Brewery Exhibit that provides the history of the old brewery structure accompanied with artifacts and Breweriana items on display. There is also a Riedlin - Schott Room (named after the families who owned and operated the brewery). This room is available to Kenton County residents for community activities. This room and the exhibit (including the display areas), will to be used for brewery tours involving the history of the brewery. In addition, this website will help augment the brewery's history, while also documenting the progression of inventions and events impacting the brewing industry.
Main objectives of this website are to:
One of the primary objectives of this site is to provide a virtual museum of brewery memorabilia, referred to as Breweriana, as it relates to the former Bavarian Brewery. The items displayed herein and in the exhibit have been obtained from the Behringer Crawford Museum (BCM), both Riedlin and Schott family members, other individuals and online images. The artifacts in the exhibit display cases are also expected to be rotated periodically.
An active effort will be made to increase the collection of Bavarian memorabilia through gifts and loans. If you have any such items, photos, or or simply additional information to supplement this web site or the displays, please contact us.
The red arrow above shows the location of the Bavarian Brewery Exhibit in relation to the former Brew House, built in 1911. This building was converted to offices and has become the South Wing of the Kenton Co. Government Center. The second and fourth floor middle windows were opened with bridges that connect across an atrium to the North Wing of this office complex. The exhibit is next to Information Desk in the atrium and easy to access.
Play a Bavarian's Beer 1950's Radio Jingle
THE FORMER BAVARIAN BREWERY
The origins of the brewery began in 1866 when it was established by Julius Deglow. It became known as the Bavarian Brewery Co. starting in 1870 and operated under the proprietorship of Meyer & Riedlin in 1884. (See the photo on the right.) It then became the Bavarian Brewing Co., Inc. in 1889 and was situated between Pike and 12th Streets in Covington, KY. It once occupied over 6 acres with ice ponds, ice houses, various buildings and stables for about 100 horses. Its peak annual production was 215,000 barrels of beer around 1915, shortly before Prohibition. Afterwards, in 1950, the brewer's annual production reached 350,000 barrels. Below are photos from its early years to mid-1950. Many other photos are provided throughout this website.
BAVARIAN MERGED WITH INTERNATIONAL BREWERIES (IBI)
In 1959 Bavarian Brewery Co, Inc., merged with IBI, a regional brewer with four other breweries. The following year, a new bottling plant was added to the brewery intended to help increase production. The main brand for the Bavarian Brewery plant was Bavarian's Select Beer. The plant also brewed IBI's other brands of beers and ales, including FrankenMuth, Old Dutch, Phoenix, Silver Bar and IBI Malt Liquor. In 1962 Bavarian's Select Beer was awarded a Gold Medal at an International Beer Competition in Belgium. However, the national brewers provided intense competition, Bavarian's sales declined and IBI had financial difficulties. IBI decided to get out of the beer business, liquidated its breweries and changed its name in 1966. The Bavarian Brewery was closed and sold that year. However, the Bavarian's name was licensed and the beer was still available into the 1970's.
For additional information and photos about the brewery, please refer to its History.
THE BAVARIAN BREWERY VACATED, BUT RENOVATED AS BREW WORKS in 1996 &
BECAME JILLIAN'S IN 1998
After the brewery closed, it was purchased and the site was used by Central Sales. But the buildings sat mostly vacant for three decades. Then, in 1996, Ken Lewis transformed it into a giant supermarket for liquor and gourmet foods along with offering a large assortment of beers, known as the Brew Works at the Party Source. The management changed within a year to offer additional food service and some entertainment. In 1998, the property became Jillian's and was part of a chain that expanded rapidly with a total of 30 locations. Jillian's added more entertainment options and concert venues to the property. However, the chain had difficulties in servicing their debt and closed their location in the former Bavarian Brewery in 2006, making the property vacant again. Below, the photo to the left is Brew Works in 1997 and the two on the right are after Jillian's closed in 2008 and around 2010.