Grab a Wiedes…Man! Wiedemann Beer Makes a Comback
Journalist and Beer Aficionado Jon Newberry Resurrects Iconic ‘Working Man’s Beer
In 1983 the once ‘state of the art’ brewery made famous by George Wiedemann Sr. in Newport, Kentucky closed after a century of history. But ‘Wiedes’ is back and when earlier this month a Cincinnati journalist and beer aficionado, Jon Newberry, relaunched the Geo. Wiedemann Brewing Co. he did it with a new recipe and an age old passion.
“As soon as I figured out that there was an opportunity to bring back Wiedemann, I thought, ‘I’ll be kicking myself until the day I die if I didn’t jump on it and do it.’ So here we are,” said Newberry, in an interview with Amanda Van Benschoten of www.Cincinnati.com
Newberry and his wife Betsy have created Wiedemann’s Special Lager a crisp, flavorful, light-bodied pilsner and are acquiring the trademark to the Wiedemann name after its previous owners, the Pittsburgh Brewing Co., allowed trademarks to expire.
The beer was brewed in Newport, Kentucky from the 1880’s until 1983, and many bars in that area still have signs and clocks that bear the name of George Wiedemann’s Bohemian-style lager even though it had merged with the Heileman Brewing company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin in 1967.
It was a hometown working-class favorite and was still beloved by beer drinkers across Northern Kentucky, even after they eventually moved the name and the brewing to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company before it became extinct.
Connect to Wiedemann Beer Facebook Page
George Wiedemann Sr., who immigrated to the United States from Eisenach Germany in 1855 and moved to the Ohio-Kentucky border area of Newport, KY who began working in the beer industry at age 15.
After joining owner John Butcher at the Jefferson Street Brewery in 1870 with a company then known as Butcher and Wiedemann, young George Wiedemann began to build a legacy for “strict integrity, modest demeanor and close attention to business” and by 1878 he bought the business, allowing Butcher to retire.
Butcher helped the company and his partner purchase the Newport Brewery in 1882 and on March 17 1890 all interests were incorporated as The George Wiedemann Brewing Company. But, just months later in May of 1890, at the age of 57 George Wiedemann passed away leaving his passion and commitment to his sons George Jr. and Charles.
Through the 1880′s his lager won legions of loyal customers because he used the best malts and hops, and prepared them in the finest German tradition and it was Wiedemann’s genius that designed and built one of the world’s largest and most efficient breweries, with a plant covering five acres.
The company’s Standard Lager, Extra Pale Lager and Muechener beers retailed widely in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee and before his death he had established a business that weathered a tragic brewery to emerge as the largest brewery south of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi after 1900.
In 1946 Wiedemann’s installed the first stainless-steel fermenting tanks west of Pittsburgh and bought the largest steel fermenting tanks owned by a local brewer in 1956. The company’s capacity stood at 900,000 barrels annually and its sales totaled $20 million by 1967.
But thanks to Jon Newberry Wiedemann beer is coming back home to Newport Kentucky with a new recipe and a new logo, but in the same tradition that made the lager an iconic local brew.
“I always liked Wiedemann, and I would have hated to see somebody come back with some lousy, crummy beer, slap a Wiedemann label on it, and the opportunity would be gone,” Newberry said.
Wiedemann’s Special Lager will be distributed by Chas. Seligman Distributing Co. in Walton, Kentucky but for now it’s a small production craft beer produced in seven-barrel batches thatwill be available only at select Northern Kentucky locations known for their attention to draft and craft beers.
Short URL: http://www.beverageunderground.com/?p=32059