8. The William C. SCHOTT FAMILY
& POST WORLD WAR II YEARS (1946 - 1952)
The Second World War was over in Europe on May 7, 1945, but the final ending of the war came when Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945. However, it took months before many enlisted men returned home and rations were eliminated. Because European industries were largely destroyed or in need of repair, the U.S. was in a position to help supply many global needs. Meanwhile, as men who had served in the military obtained jobs at home and started families, the generation of the Baby Boomers began. This period saw the beginning of a large economic expansion in America. It benefited nearly all industries - including breweries - and the increased national wealth led to a strong increase in the American demand for beer. These national changes echoed locally at the Bavarian Brewing Co.
As mentioned in the previous section, there was some reorganization of the Bavarian Brewing Co. management toward the end of WWII. The executives beginning in 1946 were: Lou Schott, President; Will Schott, Vice President and Bill Schott, Secretary/Treasurer. Joseph Vehr, the Office Manager/Comptroller, was a fourth Director. Therefore, two of the four Directors were father and son; Will and Bill. In addition, Ray Hoffman was hired as the General Manager in 1946. Hoffman had previously worked for the Consumers Brewing Co. in Newark, OH. Also in 1946, brewmaster Walter Gruner passed away and his son, Albert Gruner, succeeded him, with Henry Wetzel becoming the Assistant Brewmaster.
At the beginning of 1946, Lou Schott lead the brewery as President. He was an older brother of Will's and they had a close relationship. Will even named his youngest son, Louis, after his brother Lou. It is interesting to note that even though Will Schott was married to Lucia Riedlin, the daughter of Wm. Riedlin who incorporated the brewery and is considered to be its founder and was President of the Riedlin Company during Prohibition, which included the brewery property, Will was never President of the brewery after Prohibition; always Vice President, from 1938 until 1959.
Walter Zannis, previously with Heidelberg, became Brewmaster of Plant No. 2 and Carl Moeller, also with Heidelberg, became Master Brewmaster of both plants in 1951. The brewery was also dependent upon other employees for its success. Key Bavarian managers in the late 1940s were: Arthur Helmering, Route Superintendent; George Theele, Bottle Shop Foreman; Joe Ponzer, Sales Manager; Larry Schrand and Courtney Schrand, Bottling Superintendents; John Collins, Shipping Superintendent; James Caldwell, Chief Engineer; and, Jack Shannon, Branch Manager. Some of these men, and other important employees at the Bavarian Brewing Co., are shown on the side in front of the brew kettle. Please select the picture for individual names.
c. 1950. Source: Behringer - Crawford Museum.
After WWII, brewery management and ownership shifted away from an equal-division arrangement between the three Schott Brothers (George, Lou and Will). When George resigned, he apparently sold his brewery interest to his brother Will. Therefore, the majority ownership—about two-thirds of the Bavarian Brewing Co.’s privately held common stock—became principally vested with the families of William C. (& Lucia Riedlin) Schott and their two sons. The remainder of the stock, and about one-third of the ownership interest, was vested with Will's brother Lou and his family.
Will's sons also became more active in the brewery. His oldest son Bill joined the company beginning around 1940 and became a Director when George resigned in 1945. Will's youngest son Louis L. Schott joined in 1948 after serving in WWII and graduating from Dartmouth College. Louis became the Cincinnati Branch Manager in 1949. By 1951 he was Assistant Secretary and Assistance Treasurer to his brother Bill. In 1952, Louis became Treasurer and Bill became Secretary. Around that same time, Ray Hoffman also became Vice President, in addition to acting as the General Manager.
A NEW BEER BRAND
In the spring of 1946 the brands for Bavarian Brewing Co. were modified to simplify beer production and advertising. The brewer had two beer brands, one for unpasteurized beer in kegs and in jug bottles known as Bavarian Beer, and another for pasteurized beer known as Bavarian Master Brand Beer. Instead, it was decided to consolidate these names into one: Bavarian's Old Style Beer. A patent for this name was received in 1947. Draft beer in bottles didn't immediately disappear, but would gradually be phased out. For the draft beer under the new name, the label simply said "Draft" with an indication to keep the beer cold or that it could spoil. The brewer also continued to market its Schott Extra Pale Ale. Seasonally, beginning in mid-March, Bavarian's Old Style Bock Beer was also offered.
The Directors of Bavarian Brewery in the photo on the side, from left to right, are Lou Schott, William R. Schott, and William C. Schott. The General Manger, Ray Hoffman, is on the far right. They are inspecting their brewery's new label and brand: Bavarian's Old Style Beer. In the center is a beer case that was used for their previous brand, Bavarian Beer. For the labels used by Bavarian in the later 1940s until the mid-1950s, please see the examples below. Note that the labels in green and blue were used on kegs. It is believed that these colors indicated different alcohol content for the keys and also corresponded with the color of the keg caps.
1946. Source: Schott Family Collection.
In 1946, Bavarian's new beer brand was accompanied by a new marketing campaign, with the promotional slogan - "A Man's Beer." Sometimes the neck label for Bavarian's Beer displayed the slogan, as shown above. Research indicated about 90 percent of all beer at that time was consumed by men. Further, drinking beer was considered to be "manly." So, this slogan seemed appropriate in appealing to those most likely to drink Bavarian's beer. Although the phrase might be considered an awkward slogan today, it was successful for Bavarian's for several years.
Before WWII, Bavarian used up to five brands of lager beer (including the two noted), though some were in use for a very short time. The decision to have one brand of beer was advantageous in reducing marketing costs. However, some other local brewers, and especially the national breweries, had at least one premium brand and another "off-brand" that they could sell for less. This allowed them to sell to different groups of beer consumers, some of whom were more price-conscious than others. Possibly because the Schott Brothers were unsuccessful with multiple beer brands shortly after they acquired Bavarian in the late 1930s, and the additional costs involved with marketing additional brands, Bavarian did not to have multiple beer brands, but Bavarian they did produce Schott Ale. However, not having other beer brands, especially that could have easily been obtained when Bavarian acquired Heidelberg Brewing, may have limited the options for this brewer and negatively affected their business several years later.
Use of Different Mediums
After Prohibition, brewers had more options and mediums for advertising. These consisted of:
Print Ads: Newspapers had long been a popular method for business advertisements, even before Prohibition. However, the use of photos and slogans became more important afterward, and the ads became larger. Please visit Ads: 1946-1956.
Billboards / Outdoor Signs: This was another form of marketing used before Prohibition, but it was used more frequently afterwards. Bavarian had a large billboard at Crosley Field, the home of the Cincinnati Reds. They also had numerous outdoor signs on the sides of corner saloons, particularly near its brewery in Covington, KY.
Radio: Introduced in the 1920s, this was a new medium providing advertising that became particularly popular for brewers after Prohibition. Bavarian supported a number of different radio programs serving its Tri-State market area, including WCKY, WKRC and WSAI. They particularly focused on sports, but also "top hits," news, and even stories. They also created musical jingles for their radio ads. (See below.) Before records and disc jockeys took over the airwaves, radio stations often provided their own live music and productions. Shown to the right is a photo of Bavarian Brewery and radio executives at one of the stations in Cincinnati in 1947, believed to be WSAI, with a local celebrity, Ewell Blackwell, on the far right. He was the Reds ace pitcher who was a National League All Star. (See Sponsorships.)
Television: Bavarian was an early adapter of an important new medium: television. TV programming started in Cincinnati on February 9th, 1948, on WLW-T, Channel 4, owned by Crosley Broadcasting. This was a regional station that served the eastern mid-west. Bavarian began to sponsor Midwestern Hayride about the time it began, on April 19, 1948. It was one of the network’s first and most successful programs, airing until 1972 and inspiring multiple similar shows. This program originated on WLW radio in the 1930's and was simulcasted with the radio broadcast when it went on TV. The show was originally called Boone County Jamboree, after a county adjoining Kenton County, Kentucky, which is where Bavarian was located. In addition to viewing the photos below, please visit Cincy TV/Radio Talents and Ads: 1946-1956 for pictures of the cast and featured performers.
c. Early 1950s. Midwestern Hayride. Shown far left is the shows cast, center is a party at the Bavarian Tap Room celebrating the show and Bavarian executive W. R. Schott celebrating a Birthdy with the show's Producer and Emcee, Bill Thall. Please select the arrow for more photos.
Paul Dixon (Song Shop) Show. Paul Dixon was the host of this 3-hour daily show from 1949 to 1954, featuring Wanda Lewis and Dotty Mack on WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, OH. They would often pantomime the current hit songs of the day. The photo on the right is on the stage of the show in about 1952. Wanda is standing on the right of Dixon and Dotty is on his left. Bavarian's Beer was an early advertiser on the show, and Dixon maintained advertising relationships with Bavarian for several years. Dotty Mack went on to briefly have her own show in New York in 1954, where she mingled with stars including Dick Van Dyke, Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio. Wanda joined her husband on his Uncle Al Show in 1956 and was known as "Windy" on the show. (Please see Turnaround Efforts and Recognizing Paul Dixon.) For an excerpt of one of his shows, click here.
Marketing Entertainment, Sales & Civic Meetings
The Bavarian Brewing Co., like many Cincinnati-area businesses, entertained their clients and distributors at various hotels and restaurants in Cincinnati. These included the Netherland Plaza, the Terrace Plaza, and the Sinton Hotel, as well as the large gambling and entertainment clubs in Northern Kentucky, such as the Lookout House in Covington and the Beverly Hills Supper (Country) Club in Newport, KY. Of course, Bavarian's Beer was also offered at these establishments. Additionally, Bavarian supported charitable events. Some functions would have programs, and it was common for dining establishments to have staff photographers who would take pictures of attendees before placing the photo in a "jacket" to protect it. A program and photo at an annual banquet that the brewery supported, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, along with examples of photo jackets and their accompanying photos at sale meetings, are shown below. In addition, there were times when Bavarian entertained clients or held gatherings with their employees at the brewery.
Above is a photo taken at the 80th annual banquet for the Friendly of Sons St. Patrick on March 17th, 1948. A program of the event the following year, attended by almost all of the same people, is on either side of the photo. The program can be viewed here. This charitable organization was originally founded in Philadelphia in 1771, and George Washington was one of its member. It was established in Cincinnati in 1868, and it is still operating.
First Row: This is a sales meeting, at the Netherland Plaza Hotel. Wm. R Schott is on the far left, Joe Ponzer is fourth from left and Vehr is on the far right.
Second Row: This is a sales meeting, believed to be at the Gibson Hotel. Will Schott is on the far left, Joe Ponzer is third from left and Lou Schott is second from right. The other men are unidentified.
Third Row: This is a photo of a banquet hosted at the Lookout House in Covington, KY. In the middle are the officers of the brewery and their wives, l. to r. Wm. R. Schott, Lou Schott and Wm. C. Schott. Please check the menu.
Fourth Row: This photo of a sales meeting was taken at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Newport, KY, a city just east of Covington. Louis L. Schott, Manager of the Cincinnati Branch at the time, is second from the left.
c. 1950.Besides entertaining at hotels and clubs, Bavarian would also entertain guests at their main plant. Shown is a buffet at the brewery and a photo in front of the brew kettle.
THE BREWERY OPERATIONS AND ITS PROPERTIES
During the last year of WWII, Bavarian produced 85,447 barrels for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1945. After WWII, the demand for beer increased as men returned home from the war. However, restraints that limited the ingredients for beer did not immediately disappear. Bavarian, as well as other brewers, had difficulty producing sufficient quantities of beer. This was indicated in a Bavarian ad in October of 1946, over a year after Japan surrendered, which said "although government restrictions on beer making have been modified, it will still be a while before you can get all the Bavarian's you want." However, in the coming year, the shortage of ingredients was resolved. By the end of fiscal year ending September 30, 1948, Bavarian was producing 204,879.5 barrels of beer, an increase of nearly 120,000 barrels in just two years. They were operating 24x7 and were on pace not only to exceed the output of 216,000 barrels that the brewery achieved in 1914, but would soon exceed their maximum output for the plant. As explained in the following, the main brewery was physically constrained and it was difficult to quickly increase its capacity. In order to meet the demand for their beer, Bavarian made arrangements to acquire the Heidelberg Brewing Co. in early 1949. It became known as Plant No. 2, and Bavarian's main plant, which was located just several blocks south of this second plant, was known as Plant No. 1.
According to audited financial reports prepared by Roden & Weiss, the Heidelberg acquisition allowed Bavarian to increase its production for fiscal year ending in 1949 to 312,487 barrels for that year, an increase of more than 50% from the prior year. In the 1950 fiscal year, Bavarian reached a peak production of 336,157 barrels. In the following year, production declined to 306,170 and it remained about the same in 1952 when Bavarian brewed 306,873 barrels. Even though production remained strong in 1952 and the net profits for the firm were still significant, amounting to $180,128, they had dropped 40.5% from the year before. This decline would have been even more significant had Bavarian not increased their prices in January of 1952, according to an audited financial report by a different CPA firm Bavarian began using in that year, Wm. H. Mers & Co. Even though other literature indicated that there was a significant decline in sales that began immediately after Bavarian had this price increase, this did not appear to have an immediate and material affect upon beer production for the 1952 fiscal year. Instead, what was harbinger of larger concerns for the brewer, is that their operating expenses had jumped 18.7% in one year, which resulted in a substantial drop in their net profit, and that this would be difficult trend to abate by operating two nearby plants.
To understand the operation of the main Bavarian Brewery plant in the late 1940s and early 1950s, detailed descriptions and photos are provided below, followed by more information about Plant No. 2.
THE MAIN BREWERY COMPLEX (Plant No. 1)
The brewery site as it existed in the late 1940s is outlined in yellow in both the aerial photo and the site plan below. The main brewery property in the aerial photo is shaded in light yellow. As shown, the Bavarian Brewery complex was located between W. 12th and W. 11th / W. Pike Streets, and west of Main Street. An employee parking lot was situated in the northeast corner, but all the brewery buildings owned by Bavarian after Prohibition were located between W. 12th Street and Lehmar Avenue. The later road is not very visible on the photo below, but is viewable on the site plan. The executive offices for the brewery were located in the second floor of the Mill House, and its address was 528 W. 12th Street. Not included as part of the brewery site were several former buildings that had been sold before 1933, because they had become obsolete and were no longer needed for brewing purposes. This was briefly discussed within periods 5. Riedlin Co.'s. and R6. Reopening of the Brewery. However, with the growth of the brewery after WWII, it became evident that the land these buildings were constructed on would be needed to expand the brewery’s grounds. Consequently, arrangements had begun -possibly even before WWII - to acquire certain adjacent parcels. Two of these parcels acquired after WWII, Parcels A and B, are identified and discussed below.
c. 1949. The aerial photo on the left above shows the main brewery complex and two parcels, A and B, which were previously part of the brewery. These two parcels were acquired shortly after WWII. The site plan on the right above indicates the brewery property and the specific uses of the buildings in the late 1940s.
Parcel a was acquired in late 1947 for $13,000 and Parcel b was acquired simultaneously, or a little later. It is believed both parcels were acquired from George Rehkamp. It appears the buildings on Parcels A and B were not immediately removed after they were reacquired by the Bavarian Brewing Co. Before they were razed in 1956 to construct a warehouse, these buildings were rented to other businesses. A description of these two parcels acquired by Bavarian follows.
Parcel a. This parcel included the former Brew House and the Mechanical Building. The latter building fronted on Lehmar Avenue and was occupied by a home improvement company. Apparently, a portion of the Brew House was occupied by a neon sign works company, known as the Dixie Sign Co., and also at some point possibly by Lou's Signs. Some of their signage creations were made for the brewery; please see Signs: Neon, for some examples. Although these two buildings did not share a common wall, there was a roof canopy between them. However, the old Brew House shared a common wall with the Office Building to the north, requiring a careful demolition of the Brew House to keep this structure in place.
Parcel b. This site fronted on Lehmar Avenue and included the old Ice Plant (built in 1895). The site plan above indicates that this building was used for auto repairs and a tin shop. It may have also been used, at least in part, by the Kahnmann & Rehkamp Dairy. Some roof canopies extended between parcels a and b, which explains why the two appear to be connected in the aerial photo.
Additional former brewery buildings were located north of the aforesaid parcels that front on W. Pike Street; the former Office Building above or north of Parcel a was used for the offices of the Kahmann & Rehkmap Dairy north of Parcel B, the former Bottling Department - fronting partly on W. Pike St. and mostly on W. 11th Street - was used by another dairy company, the Hanneken Dairy. These two properties would remain separately owned in the future and would never form part of the brewery property again. The structure between Parcel b and the brewery parking, however, would later be reacquired.
(See Turnaround Efforts.)
Ground Level Views (Plant No. 1)
In addition to the aerial views above, ground view photos of the brewery property taken in the late 1940s are shown below. These photos are taken mostly from different angles on Lehmar Avenue, which laid between W. Pike and W. 12th Streets. The exceptions are the bottom right two photos, taken near W. 12th Street. Lehmar Avenue was the main point of access to the brewery property. The offices for the brewery were separated from the main activity on Lehmar because of their location off of W. 12th Street, shown in the bottom right photo.