4. The Early 1900s:
THE LATER RIEDLIN YEARS (1900 - 1918)
By 1900 the population growth in Cincinnati was still increasing, but not as significantly as in other cities. As a result, its population was no longer ranked within the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., as it had been for several previous decades. The population of Covington was also growing, but also not at the same pace as previously. Nevertheless, the beginning of the 20th century was one of the most significant for the Bavarian Brewing Co., Inc. The brewery began rapidly expanding its site and adding new buildings in order to increase its production capabilities.
THE BREWERY EXPANDS
The industrial revolution transformed America in the 1800s and early 1900s. The combustion engine began being used for automobiles starting in the mid-1890s and the assembly line was introduced by Henry Ford to produce the Model-T in 1908. This not only had a strong stimulating effect to the U.S. economy, but it caused a transformation allowing people to more easily travel and reside outside of major cities. These changes influenced many industries, with some companies taking advantage of them more than others. The Bavarian Brewing Co. expanded by acquiring adjacent parcels of land in the first decade of the 20th century, and a new building was constructed practically every year between 1902 and 1913.
PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS (Early 1900s)
At the turn of the 20th century, the brewery evidently realized that in order to expand, they needed to acquire adjoining properties. They were essentially landlocked in the middle of an urban block. To provide space for expansion, a few acquisitions occurred in the first decade of the 1900s. Even though discussions probably began in previous years, Bavarian officially acquired the "Tan Yard" property between 12th and Pike Streets in 1904; the building had previously operated as the L.H. Deglow Tannery. They acquired part of it from the Louis and Julius Deglow family, and in another transaction that same year, from George Lubrecht. Additional acquisitions occurred in 1906 and 1908 with purchases from Blanch and Carl Wiel, as well as Monika and Anton Ruh, respectively. These acquisitions ultimately allowed the brewery to obtain most of the property between its original building and Willow Run Creek, and from Pike Street to W. 12th Street, as depicted on the 1894 Sanborn Insurance Map shown on the right.
BAVARIAN WORKERS AS THE 1900s BEGIN
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Bavarian Brewing Co. was poised for significant growth. A picture of workers taken on December 19, 1902, is shown below. The sign in the center of the photo was made by the Cincinnati Sandblast Co. and also used in other photos on this website of the Bavarian Rathskeller and Tap Room. "The Stein," as it was sometimes referred to, was made by Mettlach in Germany and was also known as the "Germania Stein." Below, the barrel with the star indicates Bavarian Beer was made according to the German Purity Law, known as Reinheitsgebot. The noted items are enlarged and shown on the right.
1902. William Riedlin Sr. is standing second from the right and the brew master, Anton Ruh is to his right. William Riedlin Jr. is seated third from the right.
Stein & Sign c. 1900. Only a monochrome picture of the sign was available. However, it had bright colors on reverse glass with glue chip lettering in a zinc frame. The "Germania Stein" includes shields of various German states around the bottom. Click either image for more information and also see the Tap Room section for more steins.
The Bavarian Brewing Co. began a planned and continuous building program between 1902 and 1913. They constructed about 10 buildings total in this decade, razing some older structures that were obsolete while adding new ones which were much more functional. These buildings are listed in chronological order on the side. A site map c. 1909 and lithograph c. 1912 both correspond to the chronological numbers on the side and below. Each building is briefly discussed and most are accompanied by photographs obtained from the Kenton County Library and the Schott Collection at the Behringer-Crawford Museuum. Those buildings that still remain today have been repurposed for other uses. Nevertheless, the original brewery site still remains mostly intact, along with such former brewery buildings as the Brew House, Mill House, Bottling Department and Executive Offices. This provides one of the more complete and significant vestiges of a former Pre-Prohibition brewery in the region. In addition, nearby structures associated with the brewery, such as Covington Turners and the Riedlin Residence, also remain.
It is believed that nearly all of the brewery structures built in the early 1900s are covered herein, but it is also possible a couple have been omitted due to the gaps in historical evidence. If anyone has any information about these omissions, or believes we need to modify or add any descriptions, please contact us.
Building Summary (1902-13)
1. Water Cooler & Ice Plant (1902)
2. Stables (1903)
3. Stock House (1903-5)
4. Tall Stack (1906)
5. Boiler House (1906)
6. Engine Room (1907)
7. Bottling Department (1908)
8. Ice Plant (c. 1908)
9. Executive Office Building (1910)
10. Brew & Mill Houses (1912)
11. Stock House Addition (1913)
THE BREWERY COMPLEX BEFORE PROHIBITION
The initial structure for the Bavarian Brewery was located at 369 Pike Street. As it grew, the facilities were rebuilt to the south and to the north side of 12th Street, and also expanded to the west and the east. This growth occurred during a period of substantial industrial evolution. In the more recent lithograph below (dated c. 1912), the building numbers correspond to those presented in the side bar above and with the descriptions below. Those buildings that are shown in red were removed; those shown in blue remained, although they were repurposed for non-brewery uses.