Historic Structures

Wiedemann Brewing Company, Newport Kentucky

Date added: November 2, 2018 Categories: Kentucky Industrial Brewery

The Wiedemann Brewing Company was founded by George Wiedemann. He immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1853. Initially living in New York State and after spending some time in Louisville, Kentucky, he moved to Cincinnati in 1855 when he entered the brewery business. In 1860, Mr. Wiedemann joined with John Kaufman in building a brewery on Vine Street in Cincinnati where he was appointed the foreman. In 1870 he became a partner with John Butcher, who was operating a small brewery on Jefferson Street in Newport, Kentucky. The business began to grow and soon became recognized as a major brewery in northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. In 1878 Wiedemann acquired the entire brewery and he continued to expand its operation. Over the years various buildings were constructed to meet the needs of the growing operation. In 1888 and 1889 construction of modern facilities was undertaken when several buildings were constructed including the Hops Storage building and the Malt House. With increase production capacity, the brewery began to command a greater share of the market. During the period before the turn of the century, Wiedemann acquired several smaller breweries. With these acquitions, the brewery established itself as the major brewery serving northern Kentucky.

During the years, Mr. Wiedemann brought his two son's into the business. His eldest son, Charles, was sent to Munich in 1876-77 to learn the latest European brewing techniques. Upon his return, he was sent to Milwaukee to learn the developing brewing techniques being undertaken by America's leading brewers. He rejoined his father as Superintendent, then as Vice-President. With the death of his father, he was appointed President in 1890. He continued the distinctive brewing tradition with increased modernization, establishment of new markets, and attention to the quality of the beer.

With the advent of Prohibition, the brewery produced a beverage called Quizz which enabled the business to stay open. When Prohibition ended, the company was again producing beer. By 1938 it was producing 150,000 barrels and by the end of 1955 over 850,000 barrels were marketed. New programs, such as year-round advertizing, introduction of new brands of beer and various promotions attributed to the growth. In 1967 the brewery was purchased by the G. Heileman Brewing Company of La Crosse, Wisconsin. It was maintained as a separate division of this company until 1983 when the decision was made to close the Wiedemann Brewery and its total operation. With its closing came the end of the brewing industry in northern Kentucky.