I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, how our city has a history that a lot of other beer towns would kill for. Our story is filled with ups and downs, heartbreak and sadness that is followed by joyful brewery openings that remind us of who this city is.
A Brief History of Wiedemann
One of the happy stories of years past is that of the George Widemann brewery. It was 1878 when George Wiedemann bought out his partner in the Butcher and Wiedemann Brewery in Newport, and over the course of the next few years before prohibition the brewery became an absolute powerhouse in the area. They were open during prohibition… Running into a little trouble about making some beer that might have been a little too strong to comply with all the laws of the time, but when they re-opened in 1933 after the “noble experiment” had passed, they went back on their previous course of rapid growth.
In 1967 they were purchased by the G Heilman Brewing company of LaCrosse WI, which might not have seemed like it was a big deal to many, as they continued to operate in Cincinnati, growing to sell 1,000,000bbl a year in 1971, but the picture started to change as the 80s approached. The death of Cincinnati beer wasn’t only affecting brewery’s on the Ohio side of the river, Heilman closed the Wiedemann brewery in NKY in 1983, and moved the brands to their other breweries, with most of Cincinnati’s being made in Evansville, Indiana.
In 2006, long time Wiedemann fans were met with true heartache when word finally came that their brand would no longer be produced (although, it needs to be said that the Wiedemann of the early 2000s was just a shadow of what the brand was at one time.). However… As I said before, in this city our downturns are often met with upturns, heart breaks are often followed by joy and in 2012, the Wiedemann of today was brought back from the dead by long time fans Jon and Betsy Newberry.
Which brings us to what’s happening now…
There are lot of facets to the Wiedemann Kickstarter campaign that I’d like to explore a little bit. First off… The brewery has made it clear that they aren’t necessarily doing this for money. They are putting this Kickstarter campaign together more to pull together Wiedemann fans, and to prove that there is a viable market for another historical brand to exist in the Cincinnati market. Backers of their Kickstarter campaign can join a club of sorts… Much like Braxton had runaway success with during their campaign with their Braxton Builders. So…here’s how their ‘club’ sort of breaks down:
- Brewhemian – this is you… If you support their campaign at any level, you show your support to people that you love, and support their Bohemian Special Brew. You’re tasked with spreading the word to friends, family and other beer drinkers that there is a traditionally brewed world out there that is worth taking note of.
- The Wiedemann Army – in the Kickstarter video, Jon mentions one of the stories that was shared with them after buying the brands was of a club that used to exist in years past, called the Wiedemann Army. This club came complete with member cards with rank and serial number and exclusive member benefits. When they heard the story, they knew that it would be a great way to implement their customer loyalty program with the new Wiedemann. Every business strives to have loyal customers and incorporating a loyalty program, similar to the one you can find at Epsilon, (check it out here), can help you to diversify your service so it meets the need of everyone. Once this has been done, you have a better chance of obtaining their loyalty. With that being said, there are a few different levels that you have the opportunity to buy into if you should so desire:
- Buck Private – for only $10 this is the lowest rank of the ‘Army’ you get a badge/button and a member ID card, as well as some perks that we’ll hear about in months to come.
- Foam Ranger – $50 the middle level is for “only the toughest and most dedicated fans”. Along with your badge and ID card and Foam Ranger benefits, you’ll also get an embroidered camouflage Wiedemann hat and a t-shirt.
- Officer in the Wiedemann Army – this is the big package. For $100 dollars you get your ID card and badge, your officer ball cap and t-shirt, as well as Side door, early access to all events at the Wiedemann taproom, Invitations to sample new release beers before the official keg tappings, Admission to special “officers only” parties and lots of other benefits that they haven’t announced, or thought of quite yet.
The campaign has a lot of other benefits that go along with the levels, stuff you’d expect like hats, shirts, glassware and the like. There are some great brewing opportunities and some really cool opening day parade stuff as well. I think that the Army is the important thing to make notice of though.
Kickstarter campaigns for brewery’s (in my opinion) shouldn’t just be about opening a brewery. They need to have their community at their very core to be successful. We’ve seen some campaigns in this city that have crashed and burned, and we’ve also seen the most successful Kickstarter campaign for a brewery happen just down the street with Braxton, and to me, the biggest differences between them is the way that the supporters feel about the brands.
It just isn’t enough anymore to want a new brewery to open up…you’ve got to tap into something else to make it work. I think that Wiedemann is right there on that line, and has a chance to do something really fantastic for the city of Newport.
Show Your Support
Do you part. Look, I know that not everyone is into the beer that Wiedemann is currently making… And while them having a taproom will enable to them to make lots of different beers that you haven’t seen from them yet, I still understand that there are going to be those of you who don’t want to use your hard earned drinking money on them. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the campaign and share it along with all your friends, so that those people out there who do love the brand, and love the beer can be aware of what’s going on and show their love.
However, if you do love Wiedemann, and you want to support them… Do it. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you give, show every distribution, bar, investor and person in Cincinnati that there is a loyal and excited base for a historic brand that was almost dead to make a resurgence in NKY.
You can head over to Kickstarter and support the campaign here… make sure you share it on social media and spread the word, though!