10 July 2008

Cincinnati History Moment: Breweries Go Bust

From Timothy J. Holian's Over the Barrel: The Brewing History and Beer Culture of Cincinnati, Volume One: 1800-Prohibition:

The story of the Cincinnati brewing industry is a bittersweet tale. It is at once a chronicle of a fabulous rise to wealth and success by local breweries, under the leadership of the most prominent ethnic group of the community. Yet it is also a regrettable saga of the demise of a local industry, as a result of laws that relatively few people wanted; and-- upon its return after the repeal of Prohibition-- its virtual extinction by national brewers which penetrated the local market and used massive advertising campaigns to win over Cincinnati beer consumers...

Prohibition laws, foisted upon the public by fanatical activists and spineless legislators, wiped out with a single stroke many of the greatest local manufacturing concerns... Less pleasant still is the story of post-Prohibition breweries in Cincinnati and their rapid demise. Regional loyalties were forgotten quickly when nationally prominent brewers targeted the Cincinnati market from the mid-1930s onward... Long-time workers lost jobs, communities were deprived of vital business and tax revenues, and consumers were denied choices at the point of purchase.

Lost on few was the irony that Cincinnati brewery owners-- once poor and of low social standing-- had become some of the most influential economic, social, and even political figures... It was a classic fulfillment of the American dream.

2 comments:

sharon said...

You seem to be knowledgeable about breweries. Do you know anyone who would be interested in a Christian Moerlein Collection, including the book on Christian Moerlein in English and one in German? I have many other items: some tins that are listed, Cincinnati, USA, old beer, old beer glasses and some artwork for Christian Moerlein. Hit me back.

WestEnder said...

Very interesting... the first thing that comes to mind is the Cincinnati Historical Society:

http://library.cincymuseum.org/

I think they would be interested or know someone who is.