3. Late 1800s:
THE EARLY WILLIAM RIEDLIN YEARS (1889-1899)
The BAVARIAN BREWING CO., INCORPORATED IN 1889
Although corporations had existed in America since around 1800, it was very difficult to legally incorporate in Kentucky until the legislature made changes that facilitated the process in 1889. In March of that year, a filing was made for the incorporation of Bavarian Brewing Co., Inc., thereby succeeding the firm of Bavarian Brewery Co. and the partnership of Meyer-Riedlin. Its capital stock was $125,000, divided into 125 shares of $1,000 each. Both John Meyer and William Riedlin were assigned 11 shares. It's unknown if Anton Ruh, also named in the filing, was assigned any stock, or the names of the other shareholders. However, records show that the officers elected were Riedlin as President, John Meyer as Vice President and J. H. Kruse as Secretary / Treasurer. Shortly thereafter, Riedlin apparently acquired John Meyer's interest in the brewery. As a result, Anton Ruh, the brewmaster, became Vice President; J. H. Kruse retained his titles. (Please see Letterheads.) By incorporating, the stockholders in the brewery became personally exempt from all of the corporation's debts and liabilities. Equally if not more important, incorporation enabled the brewery to more easily raise capital to expand.
In addition to keeping the same officers as before, with the exception of Meyer, the newly incorporated brewery also retained most of the former Bavarian Brewery Co. workers; they also hired new employees. In comparison to the photo in the previous section—taken just a few years earlier than the photo below—several familiar faces are visible.
Worker Photos c. 1895 and 1897. The photo above on the left is a photo of the brewery workers in 1895 and the one on the right is possibly a couple years later. (From the Schott Collection at www.bcmuseum.org.)
CONTINUED EXPANSION OF THE BREWERY
A comparison between the Sanborn Insurance Map of 1894, printed below, and the earlier Sanborn Map of 1886 (in the Meyer-Riedlin Years), shows that the ice ponds no longer existed. They were probably very shallow to begin with and would have been easy to fill in, especially if their water source came from the creek, which could have been rather easily altered. Regardless of whether these ponds disappeared naturally or by man-made alterations, they were no longer necessary due to the ice-making equipment the brewery had acquired. Where a pond once existed on the east side of the brewery, a new wagon shed and stable were added.
Sanborn Insurance Map, 1894. The map above shows the Bavarian Brewery in the center, extending from Pike Street to W. Twelfth St. The letters on the map identify the brewery buildings, as mentioned below. Please note that some the buildings are not outlined on the above map, but only identified by letters.
Before 1890, three previous buildings were constructed during the Meyer- Riedlin Years, including the:
A. Original Brewery, modified as a Malt House.
B. Mill House, added to the Malt House (1886).
C. Brew House, with ice equipment (1888).
The location of the above-mentioned buildings are shown in the lithograph below. This image provides an expansive view of the brewery from a postcard printed around 1900. Additionally, buildings constructed after 1890, as described below, are identified on this image as well. The photo on the right below shows a ground-level perspective for the brewery around 1900. The three men standing in the center (left to right) are William Riedlin, Ferdinand Ruh and Anton Ruh. Within this photo, buildings A, B and C are seen on the left, the entrance is visible in the background, and the Bottling Department (E) is partly shown on the far left. Both the lithograph and the photo are taken from similar perspectives, looking to the south from Pike Street. For comparison, the photograph was taken from what would have been the lower right corner of the lithograph.
c. 1900 Lithograph of the Brewery Complex & Photo of the Brewery Entrance in 1899. The lithograph is taken from a postcard, but this image was also used on stationery during the first decade of the 1900s. (Please see Stationery.) The photo above on the right shows workers standing in front the brewery's entrance. Please click the images for more data. (Sources: the Schott Collection at Behringer-Crawford Museum and the Kenton Co. Library.)
Economic conditions were favorable after the brewery incorporated in 1889. Shortly thereafter, it authorized the construction of some important buildings, as described in the following. These changes helped to increase the brewer's capacity and necessitated the hiring of additional workers. Note that there are more workers in the 1899 photo immediately above than those photos further up the page, which were taken five and 10 years earlier. This rapid expansion positioned the brewery competitively in the coming years.
D. Mechanical Building. This two-story masonry building was erected just south of the Brew House, with a framed shed possibly separating the two structures. It was evidently added around 1890, just before the Bottling Department building was constructed, as noted below. This building may have been referred to differently when it was used by the brewery, but it is referred to as the Mechanical Building herein because it contained certain ice-making or refrigeration equipment that had previously been used in the Brew House.
E. Bottling Department. This frame structure was added in 1892, the year that William Painter developed the crown cork (bottle cap). This made the bottling of beer much more practical, increased the demand for bottled beer, and created a need for a device to open these bottles - the bottle opener. (See Openers and Crowns.) The Bottling Department building is depicted on the above map just south of Pike St. and east of the original brewery.
F. Ice Manufacturing Plant. An Ice Manufacturing Plant was constructed just south of the Bottling Department in 1895. It contained a 31-ton refrigeration plant that produced 100 tons of ice per week. This building was constructed just east of the Brew House, and is not shown in outline form on the Sanborn Map above.
The Ice Plants were used to help cool and ferment the company's lager beer, but were also built to provide more ice than the company needed. This excess capacity allowed Bavarian to sell ice to the local neighborhood residents and to supply saloons with ice in exchange for selling Bavarian beverages. With ice-making capabilities and better refrigeration, the brewery was able to utilize large wooden casks or tanks to store and age their lager beer. These containers could contain up to 300 barrels each. The storage rooms were cool and wet, requiring workers to dress appropriately with high boots and warm clothes - get-ups shown in the photo below.