Historic Beer Birthday: Johann Schiff

Today is the birthday of Johann Schiff (February 1, 1813-?). Schiff was born in Rohrbach, Germany, but appears to have emigrated to Ohio by at least 1850, but probably earlier. He was a co-owner on the Eagle Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was known by various names names, such as the Schaller & Schiff Brewery and later the Schaller-Gerke Brewery and finally the Gerke Brewing Co. Accounts seem to vary about his involvement, and especially with the names of the brewery as they changed, but here’s the timeline from the Queen City Chapter’s page, entitled Cincinnati Brewing History-Preprohibition 1811-1919

1829: William Lofthouse and William Attee operate THE EAGLE BREWERY located on Fourth Street from 1829 until 1843. William Lofthouse becomes the sole proprietor of the brewery after William Attee dies in 1843 and he operates the brewery until his own death in 1850. His widow leases the brewery to Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff who continue to use the EAGLE BREWERY name and operate the facility from 1850 to 1857.

1854: Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff purchased land on the Miami-Erie Canal near Plum Street and construct a new brewery which they operate from 1854 to 1866. They continued to use the EAGLE BREWERY name. In 1866 Schaller buys out Schiff and he becomes a partner with John Gerke. The brewery name becomes SCHALLER & GERKE, EAGLE BREWERY. They continue in business together until 1882.

1861: Joseph Schaller buys out his partner, Johann Schiff, and continues to operate THE EAGLE BREWERY. In 1866, John Gerke becomes a partner in the business and the brewery operates until 1882.

1882: After John Gerke‘s death, his son, George, takes his place in the brewery and the business is incorporated as THE GERKE BREWING CO. In 1904, a new building is erected but is soon sold to the French-Bauer Dairy and the Gerke Brewing Co. is out of business by 1912.


I have been unable to find any portraits of Johann Schiff, or indeed much biographical information of any kind. There’s a bit more about the fate of the brewery after Schiff was bought out, and it became known as the Gerke Brewing Co. For example, Lagering Cellar 1861 has some Gerke Brewery History.

Joseph Schaller came to America as a young man. Working as a laborer in Cincinnati and on the Erie Canal, he saved his money to start a vinegar works. He purchased the old Lofthouse Brewery (located on 4th Street) with Johann Schiff in 1850. While not trained as a brewer, he hired well. They quickly grew the business and built the Eagle Brewery at the corner of Plum and Canal in 1854.

The brewery was located at the Plum Street bend of the Miami & Erie Canal, and had large arched windows unique to Cincinnati breweries0 These windows are duplicated in the doors to the elevator room you came through. Partnering with John Gerke, he grew the brewery to be one of the largest and most modern in the city, producing about 140,000 barrels of beer a year. Before retiring, he helped his three sons start the Schaller Brothers Main Street Brewery. Gerke continued brewing until 1912. Brewery was replaced with the French Bauer Ice Cream Factory in 1917, which still exists as the Court Street Center building today.

Gerke continued brewing until 1912.

Schaller & Schiff, Eagle Brewery (4th Street) 1850 – 1857
Schaller & Schiff, Eagle Brewery 1854 – 1866
Schaller & Gerke, Eagle Brewery 1866 – 1882
Gerke Brewing Company 1882 – 1912


The first brewery on this corner was the Eagle Brewery from 1854 to 1866, owned by Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff. In 1866, Schiff left the company and John Gerke joined in. The name was changed to Schaller & Gerke, Eagle Brewery and they continued together until 1882. The Schallers left the business then to purchase the Main Street Brewery and after the death of his father John, George Gerke continued the business at Canal and Plum Streets.


Founded in 1854 as the Eagle Brewery closer to the Ohio River, Joseph Schaller and John Gerke built a new brewery at the bend of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1866. Beer was brewed there until 1910.


The brewery equipment was sold at auction October 15, 1913.

Historic Beer Birthday: William Hoffmeister

Today is the birthday of William Hoffmeister (January 31, 1827-1902), who was born in Germany, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1847, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. There in 1856 he founded the William Hoffmeister Brewery, but it was only in production until 1873, when he closed it and opened a saloon. Being open for a mere seventeen years, there’s precious little information about either the brewery or William Hoffmeister, and I was unable to find any picture of him, his beer or his brewery, though this may be his coat of arms.


This is about all I could find on William Hoffmeister, from the Cincinnati Turner Societies: The Cradle of an American Movement, by Dann Woellert, published in 2012.


Historic Beer Birthday: John Goetz

Today is the birthday of John Goetz, Jr. (January 28, 1855-January 23, 1898), who was married to Christian Moerlein’s daughter Lizzie and worked in his father-in-law’s brewery. He also organized the Brewers Exchange, and was its first president, was a trustee in the U.S. Brewers Association and helped organize the Ohio Brewers Guild.


Here’s his obituary from the American Brewers’ Review, which provides a summary of his life:


After Goetz married Lizzie Moerlein, he went to work for his father-in-law at one of Cincinnati’s biggest breweries, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. In fact, before prohibition, it was one of the nation’s ten largest. But like many breweries, it was closed by prohibition, and wasn’t re-introduced until 1981. In 2004, the brand was purchased by Greg Hardman, a local resident of the Greater Cincinnati area, who also bought several other local beer brands in addition to Moerlein.


And here’s an additional biography.


Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Hubach

Today is the birthday of Henry Hubach (January 27, 1843-June 16, 1915). He was born in Germany but moved to the U.S. in 1865. It appears he may have been involved in the Wayne Street Brewery of Fort Wayne, Indiana, at least between 1874-1876. One breweriana reference states that it was actually known as the Henry Hubach Brewery for those two years. Although 100 Years of Brewing mentions that Hubach had been in the U.S. for twelve years before buying the brewery in Ohio, which would mean he emigrated in 1865 at the age of 22. They further state that he had previously worked in breweries in Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, not listing Indiana at all. So it’s possible, however unlikely, that there were two different Henry Hubachs.


At some point, our Henry Hubach moved to Tiffin, Ohio, which is in the northern part of the state. In 1877 he bought the Fred Giege & Jacob Schumucker Brewery, renaming it the City Brewery, though in 1906 it became known as Hubach’s Brewery Co. Some sources indicate City Brewery was its original name when it first opened around 1855, while others claim its original names was the Siegrist Brewery. The brewery operated until 1916, the year after Hubach died, and appears to have not survived his passing.


There’s surprisingly little biographical information about Hubach, although the Brewers Journal in 1915 did publish a brief obituary which sheds some light:


A local pamphlet-size book entitled the “History of Tiffin’s Breweries and Bottling Works,” by Joseph Terry has the most information I could find on Hubach.


The brewery building six years before it was destroyed by a fire in 1966.

Most accounts seem to say that Hubach bought his Ohio brewery in 1877, but it appears that he may have simply rented it for the first six years, only completing the purchase of it in January of 1883.


And speaking of the flood, some of the brewery’s best photos I could find are from the flood, known as the Great Flood of 1913.



“The brewery built on Tiffin, Ohio’s Madison Street near the Sandusky River was in operation by 1859. By 1878 the business was owned by Henry Hubach. The building withstood the 1913 flood; it was destroyed by fire in the 1960s.”

Historic Beer Birthday: Gottlieb Muhlhauser

Today is the birthday of Gottlieb Muhlhauser (January 24, 1836-February 9, 1905), who co-founded the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He had two partners in the venture, his brother-in-law Conrad Windisch and his brother Heinrich Muhlhauser.


Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Beer Baron. A native of Muggendorf, Bavaria in Germany, he came to America in 1840 with his father, Frederick Muhlhauser, and settled on a farm near Portsmouth, Ohio. They moved to Cincinnati in 1845. After his father’s death in 1849 when he was 13 years old, he assumed the responsibility of the family as the oldest child and left school to work at a pottery. He then entered the mineral water business and became the plant’s foreman in 1852 when he was 16 years old. Muhlhauser went into the same business for himself in 1854. Business was very successful and he branched out to Chillicothe in 1855 and to Hamilton, Ohio in 1857. He also was married in 1857, to Christina Windisch, the sister of his future business partner. In 1858, he erected a mill for crushing malt and another for steam flouring with the aid of his brother, Henry Muhlhauser. During the Civil War, he supplied flour to the Union Army and the Cincinnati Home Guard. Around this time he suffered from a gunshot wound, but it was not severe enough to keep him from operating his businesses. In 1866, he organized the Lion Brewery with his brother Henry and his brother-in-law, Conrad Windisch. The million dollar beer company became the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company in 1882 and Muhlhauser was the president and general manager. He died in 1905 in Cincinnati when he was 69 years old.

And this is him in another portrait, when he was a little older.


Their brewery became known as the “Lion Brewery” because of the two lions that rested atop the brewery’s gables and many of their beer names used a lion in the name and on the labels.


The History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio has a short history of the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company:


Paired Creation also has a history of the brewery.


A label from Lion Lager (date unknown).

Historic Beer Birthday: Rudolph Rheinboldt

Today is the birthday of Rudolph Rheinboldt (December 27, 1827-October 30, 1916). He was born in Germany, came to Cincinnati, Ohio, and was involved with helping to found what would become the John Kaufman Brewing Co., though for a short time, from 1856-58, it was known as the John Kaufman Rudolph Rheinboldt Brewery. It’s possible he was related to Kaufman, though it’s unclear how, although Rheinboldt did marry Magdalena Kauffman in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 13, 1859, when he was 31 years old.

Here’s the letterhead from the John Kaufamn Brewing Co.

Since he appears to have been involved for only a short time, I was unable to find very much about him, no photos, and almost nothing after he left the brewing industry.

Here’s part of the John Kaufman Brewing Co. that involves Rheinboldt, from Cincinnati Brewing History:

In 1856 John Kauffman, George F. Eichenlaub, and Rudolf Rheinboldt purchased the Franklin Brewery on Lebanon Road near the Deer Creek from Kauffman’s aunt. Her husband, John Kauffman, estabished the brewery in 1844. He died in 1845. In 1859 under the name Kauffman and Company, they began to build a new brewery on Vine Street and soon left the Deer Creek location. The first structure on Vine was completed in 1860.

In 1871 the Kauffman Brewery was the city’s fourth largest with sales amounting to $30,930. It was located on both the west and east sides of Vine north of Liberty and south of Green Street.

In 1860 Kauffman also bought the Schneider grist mill on Walnut Street near Hamilton Road (McMicken Avenue), but leased it out before long to another company.

In its first year on Vine Street, the brewery produced only about 1000 barrels. By 1877 the number grew to 50,000 barrels of beer. Kauffman’s beer was sold in Nashville, Montgomery, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.

In 1865 Eichenlaub retired from the business and he was followed by Rheinboldt in 1877. John Kauffman then took over the leadership by himself. After his oldest son Johnn studied brewing in Augsburg, Germany, he went to work at the family brewery. Emil Schmidt, Kauffman’s son-in-law, was superintendent by 1877.

In 1882 the brewery was incorporated as the John Kauffman Brewing Company with a paid-in capital stock of $700,000. In 1888 the brewery building at 1622 Vine was enlarged. Note it is occupied by the Schuerman Company today. The office and family residence was at 1625-27 Vine, which was razed and replaced about 75 years ago.


Historic Beer Birthday: Simon Fishel

Today is the birthday of Simon Fishel (December 14,1846-January 31, 1917). He was born in Bohemia, came to the United States, and was married to Rosa Zucker (also originally from Bohemia) in 1870. In 1892, Wenzl Medlin founded the Bohemian Brewery and hired Fishel to manage it. Three years later, Fishel bought it from Medlin, who stayed on as brewmaster. A few years later, in 1904, he renamed it the Fishel Brewing Co. In 1907, his brewery became part of the Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Co. and Fishel became the conglomerate’s manager, and then president.


Here’s a short biography of Fishel from Brewing in Cleveland, by Robert A. Musson:



Here’s Fishel’s obituary from the American Brewers Journal:


Pulaski-Special-Beer-Labels-Cleveland-Sandusky-Brewing Crystal-Rock-Dutch-Style-Beer-Labels-Cleveland-Sandusky-Brewing

The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History also has a short history of the Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Corporation:

The CLEVELAND-SANDUSKY BREWING CORP., known for many years as the Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Co., was formed in 1897 through a merger of 11 northern Ohio breweries. These included the Cleveland firms of Baehr, Barrett, Bohemian, Cleveland, Columbia, Gehring, Phoenix (later Baehr-Phoenix), Star, and Union breweries; and the recently consolidated Kuebeler-Stang breweries of Sandusky. The Baehr, Barrett, and Union breweries were closed shortly after the merger, while 3 others were added to the chain: Schlather (1902) and Fishel (1907) in Cleveland, and the Lorain brewery (1905) in Lorain, OH. The oldest of the Cleveland & Sandusky breweries, Gehring and Schlather, had been established in the 1850s by Chas. E. Gehring and Leonard Schlather. The first president of the Cleveland & Sandusky Brewing Co. was Frederick W. Gehring. The company’s general offices were in the American Trust Bldg. on PUBLIC SQUARE. ERNST MUELLER†, founder of the Cleveland Brewing Co., successfully served as president of Cleveland-Sandusky in its formative years (1898-1907). Mueller left in 1907 after a dispute arising from his opposition to the purchase of the Fishel Brewing Co., and then founded a new firm, the CLEVELAND HOME BREWING COMPANY.

Most of the chain’s smaller breweries were closed over the years, so that of the company’s Cleveland plants only Gehring, Fishel, and Schlather remained by 1919. During Prohibition, the company manufactured carbonated beverages and near-beer at the Schlather bottling plant at 2600 Carroll Ave. After repeal, the only Cleveland brewery to reopen was Fishel, located at 2764 E. 55th St., which resumed production in July 1933, brewing Gold Bond and Crystal Rock beer and Old Timer’s ale into the 1960s. In Sandusky, the Stang plant reopened but was closed in 1935 following a 2-month strike. Oscar J. Fishel headed the company during this turbulent decade but resigned in 1940 after a proposal to sell the brewery’s assets to the Brewing Corp. of America was defeated by stockholders. Following 3 successive years of losses, Marvin Bilsky became president of the brewery in 1956. Bilsky’s aggressive advertising and merchandising–in 1958 Cleveland-Sandusky became the first brewery in the nation to toast its malt, and in 1959 it introduced the throwaway bottle–were not enough to reverse the company’s fortunes, however. The Cleveland-Sandusky Brewing Corp., as it was last known, closed in the mid-1960s.

One of Cleveland & Sandusky Breweries’ most popular and enduring beers was Gold Bond Lager Beer. The beer was originally created by Fishel as $500 Gold Bond Beer, which was a reference to a promise on the label that Fishel would pay anyone $500 if they could prove that his statement about the ingredients used in the beer were false. Those ingredients included “choicest Barley, Malt, East India Rice and selected Hops. As for what it didn’t contain, there was “No Glucose, Grape Sugar nor injurious substances.”


The beer came with Fishel to the Cleveland & Sandusky and continued as one of their most popular beers, too.


At some point they dropped the $500 from the name and it became “Gold Bond Beer.”


It continued well after Fishel’s death in 1917 and after prohibition and at least into the late 1950s, though they dropped the promise and just kept the name Gold Bond. The Cleveland & Sandusky Breweries closed some time in the 1960s.


Historic Beer Birthday: John H. Foss

Today is the birthday of John H. Foss (November 30, 1859-December 13, 1912). He was the son of Henry Foss, who in 1867 became involved with the Louis Schneider Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, eventually becoming a partner. It was later known as the Foss-Schneider Brewing Co. When his father passed away in 1879, John H. Foss stepped into his father’s role as co-owner of the company and was also president of the brewery. The brewery closed during prohibition, but reopened when it was repealed in 1933, though closed for good in 1939. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any photos of John H. Foss.


This biography is from the “History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio: Their Past and Present,” published in 1894:

John H. Foss, president of the Foss-Schneider Brewing Company, is the eldest son of the late John Henry and Adelaide (Te Veluwe) Foss. He was born in Cincinnati, November 30,1859, received his education at. Xavier College, and became the junior partner of the firm of Foss & Schneider in 1879. In 1883 he made an extensive tour, inspecting many of the greatest breweries of Europe, and obtaining ideas there from that have proved of incalculable benefit in his management of the business of his company. Upon his return from Europe, and the incorporation of the business in 1884, he was elected its secretary and treasurer, in 1890 becoming its president. On November 4, 1885, Mr. Foss was married to Katherine Marie, daughter of B. H. Moorman, a retired merchant and capitalist of Cincinnati. She died May 15, 1893, leaving two children, Adele and Robert. The foundation of the Foss-Schneider Brewing Company was laid in 1849 when Louis Schneider transformed his little cooper shop on Augusta street into a brewery. The new industry thrived, and became known as the Queen City Brewery. Soon a removal to more commodious quarters was necessitated. In 1863 new buildings were erected on the site of the present plant on Fillmore street. Four years later Mr. Schneider, on account of ill-health, sold out to Foss, Schneider and Brenner, the son, Peter W. Schneider, taking up the burden of active interest in the business laid down by the father. In 1877 Mr. Foss purchased the interest of Mr. Brenner.

The business was then continued under the name of Foss & Schneider until the death of John Henry Foss, August 13, 1879, when his interest became the property of his widow and her eldest son, John H. Foss, P. W. Schneider still retaining his interest. In 1884 it was incorporated under the name of The Foss-Schneider Brewing Company. The year 1884 was one of annoyance and disaster to the young corporation. The flood which devastated the city that year undermined and caused the collapse of the malt house burdened with over sixty thousand bushels of malt. This calamity, however, caused no cessation of work, and, in spite of the disaster, the business of that year showed an advance over the preceding year. It was determined at this time, too, to erect an entirely new plant, and in less than one year the Foss-Schneider Company was installed in one of the finest and most completely equipped brewery structures in the country. The product of this great establishment is celebrated, and finds a ready market throughout the United States and in many foreign lands, the annual output being 80,000 barrels.


Here’s a short history of the brewery, from “100 Years of Brewing:”




Historic Beer Birthday: Johann Georg Sohn

Today is the birthday of Johann Georg Sohn (October 20, 1817-October 24, 1876). He was born in Bavaria, but settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1845, he co-founded the Hamilton Brewery, which was later known as the J.G. Sohn & Company Brewery. It was also known as the Clyffside Brewing Co., and used the trade name Feldsbrau. Johann’s sons took over after his death, and it was sold in 1907 and became known as the William G. Sohn Brewing Co. and later the Mohawk Brewing Co. After prohibition, it reopened as the Clyffside Brewing. After World War 2, it was renamed the Red Top Brewing before closing for good in 1958. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find very much biographical information about Sohn, and only a little about his brewery.


Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Clyffside Brewing Company is a defunct brewery in Cincinnati, located on the site of Hamilton Brewery, founded in 1845 by Johann Sohn and George Klotter as the Hamilton Brewery. By 1853, the company becane known as the Klotter, Sohn and Company. In 1866, Sohn bought out Klotter, and Klotter went on to establish his own brewery on Klotter Street. Sohn renamed the brewery the J.G. Sohn & Company Brewery, and it became the tenth largest of its type in Cincinnati. In November 1900, the company was reorganized as the William S. Sohn Brewing Company when Sohn sold out his interest. In 1907, Sohn was purchased by Mohawk Brewery, and was known for its Zinzinnati Beer.


Cincinnati Brewing History has the following to say about the brewery:

George Klotter left the Klotter, Sohn, & Co. Brewery partnership to pursue his own proprietorship, at which point Johann George Sohn brought in Louis Sohngen and Heinrich Schlosser as partners. The new partnership would operate under the name of J.G. Sohn & Co. Brewery. Sohn ran the business until his death in 1876.

After Sohn’s death, leadership of the company was assumed by his sons, J.G. Sohn Jr., William, and J. Edward. J.G. Sohn Jr. died in 1880 and the other two brothers continued to operate the brewery together until 1900, at which time J. Edward left to join the Schaller Brothers Brewery. Shortly thereafter William would rename the brewery as the William S. Sohn Brewery, however he died in 1902. After William’s death his wife, Lena Jung Sohn ran the brewery until 1907, as she was intimately familiar with the industry by way of her father, another Cincinnati brewer.


Abandoned, the story of a forgotten America, also has a page about the Clyffside Brewing Company




Historic Beer Birthday: Fred Horix

Today is the birthday of Fred Horix (October 3, 1843-1929+?). Horix was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, but came to America in 1868, eventually settling in Akron, Ohio. In 870, he and John Kirn formed the Fred Horix & John Kirn Brewery, and three years later he bought out Kirn, renaming it the Fred Horix Brewery. Unfortunately, the brewery closed in 1879. Horix then bought another brewery which he named the Frederick Horix Brewery, but a decade later he sold it to George J. Renner. He later became part-owner of the Akron Brewing Co., along with over 50 local saloonkeepers, and spent the remainder of his career as its Vice-President. Unfortunately, there’s not much biographical information I could find on Horix, not even his date of death or a photo.


After his first brewery closed, he bought another, as detailed in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:

At this point, [brewery owner Frederick] Oberholtz found himself $30,000 in debt to several parties, and he subsequently lost ownership of the plant. The brewery changed hands twice more while sitting idle, until September 1876, when it was purchased by John A. Kolp. He operated it briefly before defaulting on several loans himself. It was then sold at a sheriff’s auction in January 1879 to Fred Horix, for $8,334, or two-thirds of its appraised value. Oberholtz later moved to Kansas City for a time before returning to Akron, where he died of consumption in 1888.

Horix had successfully operated a small brewery on East Exchange St. for several years. When he took ownership of this plant, it consisted only of an icehouse, a small storage building, and the main brewhouse with a potential annual capacity of 20,000 barrels. Horix was immediately able to invest a significant amount of money into the plant, and brewing operations began again by mid-1879.


Just one year later, in August 1880, a second fire struck the plant. Beginning late at night in the boiler room, it quickly spread through the plant. Horix, who lived in a house next door to the plant, saw the fire and ran up the Forge Street hill in his nightclothes to the nearest firebox a half mile away. Despite a rapid response by the fire department, the top two floors of the plant were gutted, with a loss of nearly $12,000. This time, however, the plant was fully insured, and was quickly rebuilt.

Within several years, the plant had increased in size to seven buildings, and annual production had increased to nearly 7,000 barrels; the brewery was finally operating at a profit. In 1888, however, Horix chose to sell the plant for $45,000 to George J. Renner. The deed of transfer mentioned that while Renner would take ownership of the entire plant and house, Horix would retain his personal records, family furniture, and “a spotted horse called Dick”. Horix then spent a year in Germany before returning to Akron, where he was involved in several different business ventures before opening a delicatessen on South High St. After the turn of the century, he would return to the brewing business, becoming involved with the newly formed Akron Brewing Company.


And his final job was with the Akron Brewing Co., again told in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:

At the outset of the twentieth century, the predominant trend in the brewing industry was toward the formation of stock companies, many of which were operated by local saloon owners. The Akron Brewing Company began as one of these, when in October 1902, approximately fifty saloonkeepers from the Akron area banded together to create a new brewery in the city. Many of them had argued for years that the prices they had to pay for beer from the existing breweries were too high, which made it more difficult to realize a profit. Therefore, with the creation of their own company, they would have a guaranteed supply of beer at a reasonable cost. It was also assumed that many of the 250 saloons in Summit County would also patronize this new establishment.

The new company was incorporated in April 1903, with a capital stock of $200,000. The initial president was John Koerber, the owner of the Bank CafÈ in downtown Akron, and who had previously been involved with the formation of other brewery stock companies elsewhere before coming to Akron. Vice-president was Fred Horix, who had previously operated a small brewery on East Exchange Street, as well as what was now known as the Renner brewery on North Forge Street. A native Prussian, he had more experience with the brewing of beer than anyone else in the group, and was currently the operator of a small delicatessen and saloon on South High Street.

The company’s treasurer was John Lamparter, a local real estate dealer and owner of the Palace Drug Store. Secretary and general manager was F. Wm. Fuchs, the proprietor of the Buckeye Supply House, who had previously been an Akron agent for the L. Schlather Brewery of Cleveland. Other initial directors included John Backe, Ed Kearn, Christian Koch, Jacob Gayer, Adolph Kull, George Good, William Evans, Frank Selzer, William Carter, Sam Woodring, Ed Curran, and brothers Jacob, John, and Louis Dettling, all of whom were local businessmen or saloon owners.

Construction of a new modern brewery building, costing $150,000, began in September. The site was at 841-869 South High St., at the corner of Voris St., although High St. was renamed South Broadway in later years. This new plant, made primarily of steel, was considered to be fireproof and it contained storage cellars that were made of enameled steel. Eliminating wood from the storage vats meant no need for frequent varnishing, and the beer would never taste like wood. The plant’s five-story brewhouse initially had an annual capacity of 30,000 barrels, but it could be enlarged to 100,000 barrels if necessary.

The plant’s brewmaster was John Hau, and his first brew took place on February 24, 1904. Three months later, White Rock Export Beer made its debut in the Akron market. In addition to sales in many local saloons, the beer was also bottled and marketed heavily for home consumption, the latter being an emerging trend in the industry at the time. A decade later, Wurzburger Beer would make its appearance as an alternative to White Rock.


In 1906, Koerber sold his share in the company and was subsequently replaced by John Backe, another saloon owner. Koerber then moved to Ionia, Michigan, where he purchased and rebuilt a small local brewery that had recently burned. The rebuilding was successful, but when the county voted itself “dry” by local option in 1909, the business collapsed, and Koerber was ruined. He died of kidney disease just two years later. His family remained in the business, however, later operating the Koerber Brewing Co. in Toledo and two breweries in Michigan after Prohibition ended.

By 1911, Louis Dettling had become president of the brewery. With his brothers Jacob and John, Dettling was the proprietor of The Rathskeller, a prominent restaurant and tavern in downtown Akron. When Louis died in 1917, he was replaced as president by his brother Jacob. Also joining the company during this period was new master brewer Ernst Hafenbrack. He was replaced shortly thereafter by Walter Gruner, who would eventually become the company’s president in 1921 upon the death of Jacob Dettling.

In 1913 came the appearance of the Diamond Land and Improvement Co., a real estate development company owned by the brewery’s stockholders. It began as a management office for the 82 saloons in Akron that were owned by the brewery, although other non-saloon properties were later acquired by the company.

Despite indications that Prohibition was inevitable, the company undertook a major ex-pansion in late 1916, building a large new four-story brewhouse and expanding the cellars into the original brewhouse. This radically changed the appearance of the plant, as it lost a great deal of the original ornate architecture. Soon after this, the company’s capital stock was increased to $400,000.

When statewide Prohibition took effect in May 1919, the company reincorporated as the Akron Beverage and Cold Storage Co., with capital stock of $500,000. This would continue to produce White Rock Cereal Beverage, with less than 0.5% alcohol, as well as a new cereal beverage known as Tiro, which apparently met with disappointing sales, as it did not last for long. In addition, the original bottling house was converted into the new White Rock Dairy, producing a wide range of dairy products. Walter Gruner remained president of the company until 1923, when he was replaced by Fred W. Fuchs, son of F. Wm. Fuchs, one of the company’s original officers. Fred had begun working for the brewery in 1914 upon graduating from nearby Buchtel College, later known as the University of Akron.