Thursday, March 21, 2013

Remnants of Bruckmann Brewery Company

A Facebook follower and wonderful photographer sent me the following photo and asked if I knew anything about it:
Photo courtesy of Tim Jeffries
Of course, I went off digging and this was actually a pretty easy find. The Bruckmann Brewery is pretty well documented on the web.

In 1856, Frederick Bruckmann started the Cumminsville Brewery near the corner of present day Ludlow Avenue and Central Parkway. Of course, Frederick came from Bavaria, Germany around 1847 and was joined by his brother, Johan (John) Casper, who had been a barrel maker. The hops were grown on their own land near the brewery.

Eventually, J.C. bought out his brother and after his death in 1887, ownership transferred to his sons, William, John and Henry. The company was called The John C. Bruckmann Brewing Company and shortened to Bruckmann Brewing Co. until prohibition. Being one of very few breweries to remain open during prohibition by producing "Aristocrat Cereal Beverage" (a near beer) along with other non-alcoholic beverages, the company was called The Bruckmann Beverage & Products Company. Since the brewery was already open when prohibtion was repealed, they were the first brewery in Cincinnati to ship beer at 12:01 am on April 7, 1933.
Demand became great enough that they were able to purchase another plant on at 2960/2974 Spring Grove Avenue. In 1949, the Ludlow Avenue plant was sold to The Herschel Condon Brewing Company but it only lasted one year. Luckily, several buildings remain from the complex - an old farmhouse, the brewhouse built in 1856, a cellar building, a bottling plant and a power plant, whose chimney now reads "Worthmore".

(This website was my source for the brewery information. They also make really cool lamps from old beer bottles!)

So I wanted to compare maps to see what exactly remains. Click on any of the maps to enlarge.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The canal can be seen just across from the plant.
Close-up of the 1891 map. Click to enlarge.

1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Check out how Central Parkway follows the old canal route.
Close-up of 1904 map.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Part of the Rapid Transit System (the subway) can be seen at the top.
Close-up of 1904-1930 map. The bottling plant has been added on Streng Street.
1904-1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
More details of the Rapid Transit System (the subway) can again be seen.
Close-up of 1904-1950 map.
2013 CAGIS Map
I-75 follows the Rapid Transit System path. 
Close-up of 2013 CAGIS map
1297 Streng Street. 1029 Ludlow Avenue, 1021 Ludlow Avenue, 1212 Streng Street are the remaining buildings.
An additional building at 1260 Streng Street was added after 1950 and is not part of the brewery complex.
Also notice Streng Street was re-routed to begin at Ludlow Avenue instead of its original start at Colerain Avenue which was cut off with the creation of I-75.
Photo by nevelo
Power Plant
Photo by nevelo
Photo by nevelo
Photo by nevelo
Original malt, fermenting and brew house
Google Street View of the Bottling Plant
Two old houses can also been seen on right, the last remnants of the original Streng Street.
Google Street View of the Cellar Building


  1. Very cool! I've gone by there lots of times, thinking there would likely be ghost signs inside, but wasn't sure how easy/legal it was to visit.

  2. You have neglected to mention something fun and interesting. Worthmore made Mock Turtle Soup; a staple food item, and strange too!, in the late 19th-mid 20th century. My family thrived on it. Of course ....the beer too.

  3. There's a descendant who does speaking engagements about the brewery & he displays memorabilia.
    Saw him at the Twin Towers nursing home once.

  4. The descendant is Jim Bruckmann - he's a docent with the Cincinnati Heritage Program at Cincinnati Museum Center. He really is very entertaining. You can book him and his talk by calling 513-287-7031 at CMC. He (and the other docents) are volunteers and the fee goes straight to CMC.

  5. I am the grandson of Carol Bluerock; maiden name Carol Bruckmann, who's family founded Bruckmann's Beer Co. It is so cool to see people online keeping the name alive! The Cincinnati community has been very good to our family. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Hello
    I recently purchased an antique Bruckmann wooden beer barrel, possibly late 1890s.


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