Cincinnati, Ohio, is home to a rich brewing tradition. One particular region, north of downtown, was a focal point for German immigrant settlers and, by no coincidence, became a brewing center. Many of the settlers to the area made a daily trek across bridges over the Miami and Erie Canal, which separated the area from downtown Cincinnati. In homage to their homeland they called their neighborhood "Over-the-Rhine," imagining the canal to be the Rhine River. In its heyday, Cincinnati's brewing industry boasted 36 operating breweries, many based in the “O.T.R.” area.
One of the gents who kicked off the brewing-centric nature of the Cincinnati area was Christian Moerlein, a Bavarian blacksmith who immigrated to America in 1841. Within a year he had settled in Cincinnati and in 1853 established the Christian Moerlein (pronounced "more-line") Brewery. Moerlein became the most prominent brewer in the city, and ranked among the top ten in the nation, selling his product across the United States as well as to other countries, which is notable because at the time, no other Cincinnati brewer had entered the international marketplace. The brewery continued to operate after his death in 1897. However, in 1920, Prohibition dealt the brewery a fatal blow.
In the late 1970s, another famous Cincinnati German-brewed beer brand, Hudepohl, founded in 1885, resurrected the Moerlein brand. But Hudepohl eventually folded and the brands passed to the Snyder International Brewing Group, who kept the brand alive (barely) and moved production of this key Ohio brand to Maryland. In 2004, Greg Hardman, a greater Cincinnati resident and successful beverage industry veteran, hatched a plan to bring this beer back home to Cincinnati and purchased the Christian Moerlein brands and recipes. Takin’ it back to the people!
For more information about the Christian Moerlein Brewery check out www.christianmoerlein.com.