Depending on who you talk to, the big news from Christian Moerlein this month was probably staged to you as Christian Moerlein being bought out. I received my standard “rumor mill” emails telling me that Greg Hardman was selling the company to new leadership, that they were being sold off to private equity, and that their rein as a Cincinnati Brewery was over.

It’s all way simpler than that, and the story isn’t really a lot different than it’s been from day one. Christian Moerlein owes it’s recent past (and if you talk to Greg Hardman) it’s near future to Little Kings.

I’m getting ahead of myself as usual, though. Let’s take this a piece at a time. We should start with the new leadership team.

Don’t Call It A Buyout, It’s A New Moerlein Leadership Team

Greg Hardman is still an owner of Christian Moerlein. Let’s get that out of the way off the top. Bringing on a new leadership team was needed to get the brand refocused to where it needs to be as it looks forward to the future, as much as it looks back into the past. While I don’t personally know Jay Woffington, Michael Graham or Jodi Woffington, everything I hear about this new team makes me think it’s a good move. They all worked together at POSSIBLE which was a global marketing and advertising agency that they grew before it was sold to a UK based company.

The new trio comes on as partial owners as well as very specific new jobs within the new Moerlein leadership structure. It’s a partnership with very specific goals in mind. In exchange for their coming on board and ownership stake, the trio has made a capital investment in the company… this is where things get even more interesting.

Growing Little Kings

The new capital investment in Christian Moerlein is for a very specific goal… growing Little Kings. If you have been paying attention at all, you’d see that Christian Moerlein is much more of a story about Little Kings than it is Hudy Delight or Christian Moerlein OTR.

Little Kings is a brand that has a real origin story here in Cincinnati (one that I’ve talked about before). The story of this little, local cream ale is one that can’t be fabricated by a marketing company, and that makes it an important piece of Christian Moerlein. The iconic, fun, little 7oz green bottles at one time were distributed to 48 states… they were, and are being requested from people all over the country.

It goes even deeper. A big part of what drew Greg Hardman to the brands when he purchased them back in 2004 was the power (and memories) of Little Kings. It will hopefully all be coming full circle, now. With Little Kings being brewed back in Cincinnati again, and now a new investment in growth – it’s high time that the little guys take their throne back.

The company firmly believes that changing trends in the beer industry have situated Little Kings to flourish, again. They’ve got long term plans to grow distribution as well as introduce a whole new line of fruited cream ales – which if you haven’t tried strawberry pig before… it’s freaking delicious. Heck… if you want a sneak preview, get down to the lager house and try some of the variants that are on, already.

The pieces are all falling into place, and I hope that this movement in a company that has played a massive role in revitalizing Cincinnati’s beer scene will propel them into a new era.

Stay tuned… things are going to keep getting interesting! If you want some more details on the new leadership team, you can read the story over at Brewbound.

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