THE HISTORY OF THE BAVARIAN BREWERY
Spanning Over 150 Years
THE BAVARIAN BREWERY HISTORY
TOLD IN A STORYBOARD EXHIBIT
The Cincinnati area has a proud brewing heritage. One of the most significant vestiges of a Pre-Prohibition brewery that remains in the area today is the former Bavarian Brewery. In conjunction with these efforts to preserve and reuse this former brewery, efforts have also been made to preserve the history of the Bavarian Brewery dating back to 1866, and that links to the Over The Rhine (OTR) area of Cincinnati decades earlier. It resulted in The Bavarian Brewery Exhibit located in the former Brew House, which is now next to the Information Desk, in the Kenton County (KY) Government Center. The main attraction is a giant storyboard, measuring 10 x 25 feet, resembling a mirror image of the main structure that consisted of the Brew, Mill and Stock Houses. It contains 22 windows, over 60 frames, some 90 photos and images plus 50 photos of former brewery workers, along with accompanying descriptions, which tells the history of the brewery. In addition, there are three display areas that contain various brewery artifacts and former advertising memorabilia. (See Breweriana.) Diagrams of the exhibit and a display are to the right. To take a virtual tour of the exhibit, including its plans, contents of each window and the barrel display, please click here. This exhibit was unveiled at the dedication of the Kenton County office complex on November 15, 2019. This permanent exhibit and the displays are also available for public viewing during regular workdays from 8 am to 5 pm. It is conveniently located off of the lobby entrance. For directions to the Kenton County Government Center and the Exhibit, please see Contact / Visit Us.
L. Ried Schott
Jack Gore, Architect
Kenton County Fiscal Court
Photo Credits: Kenton County Public Library, Behringer-Crawford Museum and the Schott Family Collection, William P. Schott, L.R. Schott, Bob Hebbeler, Robert Musson and Gary Schmeh.
This permanent exhibit was provided through a collaboration of of those acknowledged on the sidebar and a generous donation of one of the decedents of the former owner and operators. The aforementioned museum is the curator of the exhibit and displays. They have responsibilities to maintain the exhibit, supplement the artifacts on display and rotate them periodically. The exhibit is designed so that the windows can be replaced with different images and information, and the contents in the display cabinets can be changed. Therefore, to improve and modify the exhibit, any donation or loan of any artifacts related to the Bavarian Brewery would be greatly appreciated. Such items can be provided to the Behringer - Crawford Museum ().
As part of the Exhibit, and also on this website, there is an area providing A Tribute to the many men and women who worked at the Bavarian Brewery. The brewery had a Rathskeller in its earlier years that was used for social, business and civic events, as well as a Tap Room. In reestablishing a place where various community events can be held as provided in the former brewery, there will be a Riedlin-Schott Room for such purposes in the south wing of the Kenton County Government Center. It is named after the families that owned and operated the brewery. This room will have various brewery photographs and there will be two additional display cabinets containing other brewery artifacts in the hallway outside its entrance. This room will be located on the second floor, which is the same level where the brew kettle was once located, and above the main exhibit. (It is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.)
A MORE DETAILED HISTORY OF THE BREWERY
The Bavarian Brewery Exhibit is primarily pictorial, with limited commentary. To complement it, a major portion of this web site contains a much more detailed narrative history of the brewery along with numerous photos and images. In doing so, it allows the storied past of the Bavarian Brewery, which was owned and operated by members of the same family corporation for 83 years and once the largest employer in Covington, to be connected and linked with the present. This history of the brewery considers major technological changes as well as various locational, socioeconomic and political insights that lead to its growth, its challenges and its demise. This required considerable research that went well beyond previously published material, including:
i) An unpublished manuscript document about the history of the brewery by a C.B. Trousdale in 1954
ii) Bavarian Brewing Co. Minutes from 1938 until 1960
iii) Numerous photographs from the Kenton County Library and the Schott Family Collection (of photos) from the
Behringer Crawford Museum
v) Sanborn Insurance Maps from the late 1800s to mid 1900s
vi) A review of newspaper articles and advertisements covering over 100 years
vii) An analysis of breweriana associated with the Bavarian Brewery
viii) Previous publications, partially covering Bavarian (but none have done so exclusively)
ix) Recollections from the descendants of the brewery
Rather than use photos that often included numerous scratches, creases, blemishes, fingerprints, etc., considerable effort went into restoring many of the photos to look as they once did when after they were taken. An example of such a restoration is below. All the photos before Prohibition was repealed are tinted in brown, those taken afterwards are black and white.
In presenting a detailed history of the Bavarian Brewery, it was necessary to divide it into various parts, chronologically. This involved determining 14 time periods over the history of the brewery property spanning more than 150 years. The average period was about a decade, but each period varied from several years to over a couple decades. Some of the periods were supplemented with sections that provide specialized information during that period. Additionally, there are also two sections about the families that owned the brewery for some 83 years, The Riedlin Family and The J.M. Schott / Wm. C. Schott Families. To explore the interesting history of the Bavarian Brewery, you are invited to explore these periods and sections from the Menu under the History tab. Each period and section is accompanied by numerous photos and detailed write-ups. However, for anyone that desires a shorter review, a condensed brewery history is available as A Historical Summary. As an alternative, if anyone desires to have a more comprehensive understanding of the brewery, you can start reading its fascinating history from The Beginnings.
The background photo is of a Bavarian Brewery Underground Lager Cellar, which still exists.