BreweryTours (1)Our city has had problems in it’s history, I don’t think there is any ignoring that fact. To understand those problems, why they existed and how they could have been prevented isn’t something that I would dare to tackle on a beer blog. I’m more interested in the future of this city, a future that I believe rests not just on our breweries that are popping up all around us, but on the heritage of beer that is right under our feet.

“Sports teams and casinos can create reasons for people to come to a city, unfortunately most of the time, they cannot give it a personality. Something else must give a city the characteristics that make people want to stay in it after games or conventions are over. The thing that makes great cities great is an understanding of who they are, a respect for their story. Truly great cities do not need to entice people to move to them or remain in them. People choose to come to great cities because their attributes set them apart from all other places. Great cities feel like a friend. People fall in love with cities for the way those cities make them feel about themselves, for making them feel that they are part of a shared and personal relationship.

Cincinnati does not struggle with its identity and its image because it lacks the story of a truly great city. We have the architecture. We have a story that sets us apart, that makes us interesting, that gives us character. Our problem is that we have failed to respect our story.

The story of the Brewery District is more than the story of a neighborhood. It is the story of a great brewing city. It is our most direct, physical connection to our common history as a city – and a region. It is part of who we are. It is part of our shared past and it can play a critical role in defining Cincinnati, giving it the image and personality of a truly great city.

Unlocking Cincinnati?s true potential starts with respecting our past.”

– From the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation’s Master Plan

It wouldn’t matter what city I was living in, I would be drinking craft beer. I would be excited about craft beer. The difference for me, that inspired me to pick up a pen (or fire up the computer) and start a beer blog, is that I live in Cincinnati. We have struggled with our identity, and are just now figuring out who we are, and it’s our role as beer fans to help Cincinnati realize who she is.

What Is The BDCURC?

Cincinnati’s Brewery District was formed in 2003. It was formed by a group of people who had a commonality in that they loved beer… and they loved Cincinnati’s tie to our favorite beverage. Looking for a way to allow the Queen City to capitalize on her history, they formed the district and began focusing efforts on making the area safe, and bringing people from around town back down for events such as Bockfest, and Tours of the historic buildings that can be found around the district.

The B.D.C.U.R.C (Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation) is a group of people that formed in 2005 to help further the goals of the Brewery District. The group of almost all volunteers has been integral in getting what is now the BDCURC’s master plan accomplished. Changes are happening… and momentum has started building.

The Brewing Heritage Trail

It’s no secret that Cincinnati has a rich history tied to beer. One of the main goals of the BDCURC is to establish an urban trail system to allow residents and visitors to understand, and learn about this history while giving Cincinnati something it can be proud of. Other cites such as Boston, Ft. Worth, Detroit, St. Louis and New Orleans all have urban trail systems that enrich their cities. Here in Cincinnati, most of us are very familiar with Kentucky’s Bourbon trail, and the success that has had in getting people to visit the area. The group has been instrumental in first setting up a foundation that allows this all to happen here in Cincinnati through zoning changes, historic preservation of some of our beautiful brewery buildings and of course the construction of our city’s streetcar.

Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail
The Brewing Heritage Trail

What Will This Trail Look Like?

Neltner Beer Mural
One of what will be several stunning murals around the Brewery District.

You might be one of the two and a half million people that visit The Great American Ballpark in a given year…or you might have read about it earlier this month, but we have started seeing the first signs of the Brewery Heritage Trail spring up at the home of the Cincinnati Reds this year. These trail markers are only one part of what the trail will include, however.

The trail has a backbone of its buildings. We are all familiar with one or two of Cincinnati’s historic brewery buildings, but the truth is that there are many others that many people don’t even know about, and walk past every day of their busy day to day life. There are also Ice-Houses, Bottling Plants, Offices, and Homes that are all a crucial part of the backbone of the trail. By using markers similar to those found down at Great American Ballpark, visitors will be able to learn about these buildings.

The trail itself will be marked with bronze medallions along the sidewalk, enabling a self-guided walking tour that will lead you through many of the cities stories.

The Digital Side

Technology will enable those on the trail to experience not only some of the existing buildings that we might not be able to get into for various reasons, but also to see what might not be there anymore. The app which is expected to be developed in the next year or so will let visitors read about what they are looking at, and even see tunnels that lay just underfoot all around the district.

What Can You Do?

If you want to help the Brewery District, the number one thing that you can do is go. Visit OTR and it’s businesses. Go to Bockfest every year. Go to the Beer Baron Ball in the fall. If you want to take it a step farther, you can join the Brewery District and donate your time, your money or both. (Learn More Here)

Momentum is building. Be proud of what Cincinnati has to offer!

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