Today is the birthday of Emil (sometimes spelled Emile) Schmitt (October 21, 1851-November 13, 1898). He was born in Lorraine, France, and emigrated to America in 1853 with his family, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Having married Maria Elizabeth “Mary” Kauffman, he was the son-in-law of John Kauffman, who was part of the group that bought the Franklin Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1856. By 1859, it was called the John Kaufman & Co. Brewery, and it became the fourth largest brewery in Cincinnati. Eventually, he remained as the sole owner, and in 1882 renamed it the John Kauffman Brewing Co. Emil Schmitt was the manager of the brewery. When he died in 1886, Emil assumed control of it. It was closed by prohibition, and never reopened, although it was used as the Husman Potato Chip factory, so at least it was put to good use.
The name confusion is particularly odd, since some accounts, notably his page on Ancestry.com, claims that he was a twin, and that he, Emile, had a twin sister named Emil. But even the illustration accompanying his obituary, shown above, is titled Emil, and you’d be hard-pressed to conclude that’s a woman. There’s also some suggestion that she also died at the same time as her brother Emile. There’s definitely some conflicting reports on this.
Here’s his obituary, from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
There’s an entry for the John Kauffman Brewery in the “History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio,” published in 1894:
“In 1856 John Kauffman, George F. Eichenlaub, and Rudolf Rheinbold 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 Rheinbold 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.
John Kauffman died in 1892 and his wife Marianne Eichenlaub Kauffman took over. She was president of the corporation; Emil Schmidt, vice-president; and treasurer; Charles Rheinbold, secretary; Charles J. Kauffman, superintendent; and John R. Kauffman, brewmaster. By 1894 the brewery produced 70,000 barrels of beer. The malt house had a capacity of 150,000 bushels of barley and the brewery plant covered five acres of ground.
By 1913 John R. Kauffman was president of the company. The brewery produced ‘Gilt Edge’, ‘Columbia’ and ‘Old Lager’ beers. It closed in 1919 when Prohibition became law and never reopened.”
The brewery is also mentioned briefly in a History of the Brewery District for Cincinnati:
Industry continued to be an important factor in Over-the-Rhine’s development. The canal area was still the location of many diversified industries, including lumberyards, foundries, pork packers, tanneries, and glycerin works. The brewing industry tended to concentrate along McMicken Avenue and the Miami and Erie canal (what is now the Brewery District). By 1866 the Jackson Brewery, J. G. John & Sons Brewery, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, and John Kauffman Brewing Company dominated the industrial use of the area. In close association on the west side of the canal were the John Hauck and Windisch-Mulhauser Brewing Companies. Between 1875 and 1900 seventeen breweries were located in Over-the-Rhine and West End.