Oldenberg is often considered the start of Cincinnati’s “craft” breweries. When the brewery opened at 400 Buttermilk Pike in Ft. Mitchell in 1987 it contained an entertainment center, a restaurant, a pub, and of course the microbrewery. You could quickly find their beer not only on draft at the brewery but also in bottles and tap around town as well. They had a capacity of 25,000bbl a year when they added the American Museum of Brewing History and Arts to the Brewery in 1991. In 1996 the brewery sold around 800,000 shares of stock, raising $2,000,000 in capital to expand their sales force and brewery. They used the opportunity to add a few brands to the portfolio as well.
The brewery was built to look like it was a building that had been there forever, designed by architect Addison Clipson it used masonry, massive arched windows, ironwork, and lots of details to stun its visitors. The 40-foot clock in the great hall underwent a 6-month restoration just to make it displayable… it was these details that make the Oldenberg Brewery something special in the hearts of many who walked its cobblestone walkways in its heyday.
In the 90s, the brewery hosted an event that they called Beer Camp, a crash course in beer knowledge spread over several days, including bottle shares, tastings, and lectures on not just the nerdy side of craft beer, but of the dangers of letting craft beer get too serious while it grows. It was wildly ahead of its time (especially here in Cincinnati.)
The End of an Era
It was in 1999 that the Silver Creek Brewing Company purchased the brewery operations, and the end started. In April of 2001, Ken Schierberg brewed the last batch of beer at 400 Buttermilk Pike. The rights to the Oldenberg name were sold off to Miami Trail Brewing company in Xenia, Ohio.
This one is really sad to me. I was 17 when the last batch of beer was brewed at Oldenberg, and it remains one of those places that I wish I had the experience to experience when it was cranking.
In 2019 a brewery opened its doors in Belle Plain, MN bearing the name Oldenburg Brewing Company – which is not the same thing… Oldenberg’s legacy lives on only with the folks who were able to experience it during it’s rein here in Cincinnati.
- 1987 – The Brewery opens for business.
- 1991 – The Brewery adds the American Museum of Brewing History and Arts, and expands production.
- 1996 – The company starts opening brewpubs in Louisville, KY and Oviedo, FL bearing the Oldenberg name.
- 1999 – The Silver Creek Brewing Company purchases all of Oldenberg’s brewing operations.
- 2001 – The very last batch of beer is brewed at the Buttermilk Pike location.
- 2013 – Demolition of most of the brewery building begins