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Moerlein Farm

Moerlein Farm or the Christian Moerlein Farm was on the north side of Port Union Road on the border of Fairfield and Union townships with acreage in both townships. Christian Moerlein, born in Bavaria, owned a brewery on Elm Street in Cincinnati that covered three city blocks. Moerlein bought the rural property in Butler County in the 1870-1876 period. The farm was a country retreat for the Moerlein family and a place to rest and recuperate draft horses used to pull the brewery's beer wagons. The original house was built on a hill and its driveway was on the township border. It was torn down in 1927 and replaced with a 17-room white frame house with pillars across the front. A nearby barn had the Moerlein name on its roof. The Moerlein farm could be reached from Cincinnati by either the Miami-Erie Canal at Port Union to the east, or the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad to the west.

The Ohio History Central web site says "Moerlein was born in Truppack, Bavaria, in 1818. He immigrated to the United States in 1841, eventually settling in Cincinnati in 1842. In 1853, Moerlein established a brewery in Over-the-Rhine, a predominantly German neighborhood in Cincinnati. In its first year of operation, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. produced 1,000 barrels of beer. In just over a decade, the brewery produced more than 26,000 barrels of beer per year. Between 1812, when the first brewery opened its doors in Cincinnati, to the enactment of Prohibition in 1920, more than 50 different breweries had operated in the city. Moerlein was the most prominent brewer in the city. He sold his product across the United States as well as to other countries. During this time period, no other Cincinnati brewery entered the international marketplace. His most popular beer was 'Old Jug Lager Krug-Bier.' The brewery made Moerlein a wealthy man. In 1884, he invested some of his profits in the Cincinnati Cremation Co. Investors in the company hoped that cremation would become more popular than burials of deceased persons. They argued that cremation was more sanitary and would benefit the living by limiting the spread of diseases. The Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. continued to operate after his death in 1897. The brewery closed its doors forever with the enactment of Prohibition." Columnist Cliff Radel, writing in the Cincinnati Enquirer April 20, 2003, said by 1894, Moerlein "had the largest brewery in Ohio and the 13th largest in the nation, annually producing 500,000 barrels of beer for thirsty Cincinnatians and their 2,000 saloons, as well as for export to New Orleans, the Caribbean and Central and South America. A beer bearing his name and an approximation of his most popular recipe is owned by the Westwood-based Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. and brewed in Frederick, Md. In 2002, five varieties of Christian Moerlein beer accounted for 30,000 barrels of brew sold in 20 states and Washington, D.C." Robert J. Wimberg, author of Cincinnati Breweries, said "the recipe for what is now known as Christian Moerlein beer was prepared within the Hudepohl Brewing Co., before it reintroduced the name to the public in 1981. That said, it does remain faithful to the lager beer brewing style of the original, in that it has a fuller body than most American beers, and – like a number of pre-Prohibition beers – it does not use adjuncts (such as corn or rice, instead of pure barley malt) to lighten the flavor or color of the brew. "A century ago Cincinnati was the brewing capital of the United States. But 13 years of Prohibition, followed by the encroachment of national brands, ended that reign," wrote Doug Trapp in the June 4-10, 2003 issue of Cincinnati CityBeat. "Today the city's four remaining major brands -- Burger, Christian Moerlein, Hudepohl and Little Kings -- are actually made in Maryland. The only locally owned and produced beers are microbrews." Trapp said "for more than a year, financial difficulties have kept Cleveland-based Snyder International Brewing Group -- owners of the four remaining 'local' brands -- from consistently supplying enough to meet the Tristate's demand, let alone expanding their market share. In reality, Snyder International makes all four Cincinnati beers at the Frederick Brewing Co. in Frederick, Md."

Trapp reported that "in 1996, Hudepohl-Schoenling, the city's last major beer maker, sold its only brewery to the Boston Beer Co., maker of Sam Adams beer. But Boston Beer wasn't interested in brewing the local brands anymore, especially the canned Hudy Delight and Burger, so Snyder bought them in 1999. Snyder International also owns the Crooked River beers of Cleveland and Wild Goose brand." Trapp said "many of the city's remaining brewery buildings, some of which date to the 1840s, are in need of help, according to Bob Wimberg, author of Cincinnati Breweries. The city's greatest concentration of old brewery buildings is along McMicken Avenue in northern Over-the-Rhine, where they moved for underground cool storage and access to natural springs, Wimberg says. 'The lost beers' names sound like old Cincinnati: Hudepohl, Crown, Lafayette, Mohawk, Jackson, Klotter, Bellevue. Some lasted for decades, others for less than a year. Many breweries in the city have been razed, and many of the old recipes died with them.

'Those recipes were strictly guarded by the brew masters,' Wimberg says.' "

(See Muhlhauser, Hauck-Windisch farms, Windisch Home and Beckett Park.)


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