Local company carries on brewing tradition - FIFTEEN YEAR OLD STORY

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By Alisha Woolery
Cincinnati.Com Contributor

Hudepohl-Schoenling Communications Director Paul Abrams' office is
covered in Cincinnati brewery memorabilia. Along the top of his desk
are the company's trademark cans and bottles of Hudy Delight,
Christian Moerlein, Burger and Little Kings. A drawing of the old
Schoenling bottling plant is framed on the wall, and historic Hudepohl
Brewery photos line the window.

Bartender Hayes Meurer pours a half pint at the Barrelhouse on 12th
Street, downtown.
History and tradition are important to the company.

"It's something I think about every day to remind me of the past," he
said. "I don't want to see these brands go away under my watch."

Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. is the last of the great Cincinnati
breweries. Unlike the dozens of hometown breweries that faltered
during Prohibition, Hudepohl, which was founded in 1885, persevered.
Schoenling Brewing Co. was created in 1933. The two breweries merged
in 1986, and in 1999 the company was sold to Snyder International
Brewing Group. The old Schoenling bottling plant was sold to Sam
Adams-Boston Beer Co., which now bottles Hudepohl-Schoenling brands.

Although owned by an outsider, the company still considers itself a
hometown company, fighting the good fight against the industry giants.
As the large conglomerates like Anheuser-Busch get larger and larger,
smaller breweries are fighting for a slice of the market in one of the
most difficult periods in the beer industry history, Abrams said. The
beer market is at a low growth, so the only way to gain market is to
steal it from a competitor.

When your competitor is making 98 million barrels of beer and you are
making 47,000, that can be difficult, Abrams said.

But Hudepohl-Schoenling does have one way to compete, and that's with
the craft beers. Christian Moerlein, sold in 10 states, is now bottled
as a bock, ale, honey almond and traditional lager.

A small microbrewery is run in a room by the keg docks, where the bock
and ale were first tested. The microbrewery also allows the company to
make smaller batches of beer for events or try out new creative

There are only two Cincinnati-owned microbreweries left in town. The
BarrelHouse in Over-the-Rhine, and Queen City Brewing, an umbrella
company that owns the Watson Bros. Brewhouse in Blue Ash and Jump Cafe
on Main Street. The BarrelHouse is the larger of the two, supplying
beer to more than 100 local restaurants.

General Manager Matt DeChagas said the company can't keep up with the
demand for its quality brew. "If we had twice the equipment," DeChagas
said, pointing to the microbrewing facility inside the restaurant, "we
could sell all of the beer." In fact, management is working right now
to expand the microbrewery.

The BarrelHouse restraurant and bar is a popular gathering ground for
home brewing clubs and other microbrew fans. DeChagas says
Cincinnatians have a fairly sophisticated beer palate.

"We have a lot of people committed to our beer," he said.

This loyal following also includes the college crowd, who is willing
to pay a little more for the taste, he said. A foaming mug of
BarrelHouse beer was probably kegged yesterday or the day before.

"Nothing sits around," DeChagas said.


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