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8B. BAVARIAN PLANT NO. 2  (1949-1954; Sold in 1956)
& The former Heidelberg Brewery  (1934-1949)

After WWII, the demand for beer produced by Bavarian Brewing Co. skyrocketed and they were unable to meet production needs, despite operating 24x7.  However, while they were enjoying unparalleled success, the nearby Heidelberg Brewery, was struggling. It was difficult for a brewery as small as Heidelberg to be profitable. They also were involved in some litigation and had some management conflicts, losing their brewmaster, Joseph Ruh in 1945, who had formerly worked at Bavarian with his father Anton. For Bavarian, it seemed an easy solution to their production problem was to acquire the Heidelberg Brewing Co. and use their brewery property, as a second plant. Heidelberg was located in Covington, KY, between 4th and 3rd Streets and Philadelphia and Bakewell Streets - just several blocks north of 8A. Bavarian's main plant (No. 1).

In January of 1949, the Bavarian Directors approved the purchase of the Heidelberg for $400,000.  Terms included a down payment of $100,000 and a 10-year note of $300,000 bearing interest at 4.5 percent. This offer was accepted by Heidelberg's shareholders on February 15, 1949. The purchase included all of the land, buildings, plant, fixtures, machinery and equipment, which also secured the loan. However, 15 trucks, all bottles and the cooperage were excluded from the loan. When Heidelberg stockholders met in February, 1949, they accepted the terms offered by Bavarian. (Please see 8C. Heidelberg Brewery for a brief history of this brewery, as well as a review of its beers and ales accompanied by images of its labels and advertising materials.)

Bavarian obtained occupancy rights to the former Heidelberg Brewery in March of 1949. Their first order of business was to make the plant suitable for their own operations. To do so, they needed to make changes to the brewery building and modify some of its equipment. In addition, they needed to repaint 15 trucks, barrels and other items they acquired, which referenced the Heidelberg name and its brands. Finally, it was necessary to determine what to do with the beer that was being aged in Heidelberg's oak storage tanks. In order to avoid paying hefty taxes on this beer, Bavarian decided to dispose of it, as explained in the text below.


This photo, taken March 24, 1949, shows a workman removing his beer-soaked boots as foam settles on the floor of the Bavarian Brewing Co. Plant (No. 2). In order to make room for Bavarian's own product, and avoid paying beer tax, some 70,000 gallons (about 2,200 barrels) of Heidelberg beer were poured down the drain shortly after Bavarian bought Heidelberg Brewing Co.  (The title of a newspaper article about this event joked that the fish in the Licking and Ohio Rivers were getting drunk.) After Bavarian acquired the Heidelberg plant, a couple of months were required to make modifications before it was suitable for Bavarian’s use. The plant provided additional production later that same year. This helped Bavarian increase their production beginning in the fiscal year of 1949, ending September 30th.

In the following 1950 fiscal year, Plant No. 2 helped Bavarian achieve their peak annual production of nearly 350,000 barrels. It appears this plant was operating close to its capacity of about 125,000 barrels per year, with the remainder produced in the main Plant No. 1. This level of production held around the same for fiscal year 1951.

Blueprints of Plant No. 2

About a year after Bavarian Brewing Co. acquired the former Heidelberg Brewery they arranged for blueprints to be made of this property, known as Plant No. 2, by Harold H. Hermann & Associates, Consulting Engineers. The were located in the Enquirer Building, in Cincinnati, OH. The draftsman for all blueprints, for these as well as those for Plant No. 1, was Frank C. Hall. The blueprints were acquired and provided courtesy of Timothy Holian, author of the "Over the Rhine" series about the brewing history of the Cincinnati area. Please note that these blueprints for Plant No. 2 have the original writing and show some aging with discoloration. Those blueprints for Plant No. 1 showed more aging, the writing was often smeared and more illegible, and overall conditions of these blueprints were worse than for Plant No. 2. Consequently, the blueprints for Plant No. 1 were reconditioned and the writing converted to text - by L. Ried Schott. Unfortunately, Plant No. 2 no longer remains, and few photos of the brewery were obtained. Therefore, it was not possible to provide photos of this brewery as it was for Plant No. 1. (Should anyone have such images for Heidelberg or Plant No. 2 they would like to share, please let us know by contact

     As shown by the blueprints below, Plant No. 2 was primarily only two stories in height. However, according to the plans, the first level was called the Ground Floor, and the second level was the First Floor. The Brew House was on the far east side of the site (on the NW corner of Bakewell and 4th Streets) and was four stories above the ground level. However, the fourth (or fifth) level was only a quarter of the size of the other Brew House Floors.

     The ground floor primarily contained the Stock House with 32 mostly wood tanks, a Government Cellar with six steel tanks, the Boiler Room with two boilers, and Engine Room with ammonia and air compressors, condensers and an electrical panel. The ground floor of the Brew House had a Receiving Room with an elevator to receive grains on the north side, Malt Bins were in the middle, the bottom of the Brew Kettle was in the far southeast corner with a hop jack and hop separator. Opposite it were lockers and toilets.  

     The first floor primarily had 23 Fermenting Tanks (all but three were wood) plus three settling tubs, a Bottling Room with soaker, washer and pasteurizer, a Wash House, case storage, cooper storage and hop storage. The first floor of the Brew House section contained the Brew Kettle, the Lauter Tub the Mash Tub and the Brew Master's office.

     The second floor contained higher ceilings for the Cooperage Room, the Fermenting Room and, next to the Brew House, Hop Storage. Offices were on the far west side above the Wash House and contained three offices, a general office area, a women's restroom and a men's restroom.  The Brew House section on the far east side contained the Brew Kettle, Malt Bins, rice and meal scales as well as the top of the Lauter tub.

     The third floor of the Brew House included a Cooler Room, a hot water tank, a cold water tank, two scale beams and a reel. 

     On the small fourth floor, there was a Hot Wort tank. On the roof, there were also penthouses that housed the equipment for the freight and grain elevators that served each floor of the Brew House.

The brewing kettle capacity in Plant No. 2 was 178 barrels, slightly more than half the size of the 350 barrel brew kettle in Plant No. 2. However, the Stock House and storage capacities were significantly greater at Plant No. 1. Plant No. 2 had 32 mostly wood tanks with a total storage capacity for 9,000 barrels, whereas Plant No. 2 had 83 larger tanks, most glass lined steel, with a capacity for about 28,000 barrels. Plant No. 2 was also situated on a relatively small site compared to Plant No. 1.