The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company announced today that part of the former Kauffman Brewing Company space along Hamer and Moore streets that will be renovated for the production of specialty beers that are currently produced out-of-state.

The Kauffman and Company moved along Vine Street in 1860 and opened operations after having been previously located along Deer Creek. It was renamed the Kaufmann Brewery in 1863, and three years later, a new brewery complex was completed along Vine and Hamer streets. The brewery folded after Prohibition was enacted in 1919.

Moerlein signed a multi-year lease with an option to purchase the 125,000-square-foot structure. The company intends to sublease approximately a third of the building to other tenants, and to utilize the remainder for the brewery.

Production of specialty beers by Christian Moerlein will begin in early 2011, when the manufacture of some beers will shift from out-of-state under-contract breweries to the new plant. Over the period of two years, Moerlein and the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company, it’s subsidiary, will shift production from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to Cincinnati.

In addition, Moerlein plans on producing some new lagers and ales within the next month, which could ultimately be produced at the new brewery.

The plant will initially employ around 20 workers, but many of those will be transfers from an existing manufacturing facility in Middletown. By the time the transfer is completed by 2013, the plant is projected to employ many more.

The move allows for Moerlein to revitalize the Cincinnati beer market by introducing classic beer brands through scale and volume.

The renovation of the former Kauffman structure is entirely privately financed. The site was under contract for a year, but the developers ran into difficulties with legalities.

“To have operating breweries back here is a great thing, icing on the cake. But it shows it’s possible to do business in Over-the-Rhine, whether it’s brewery-related or otherwise.”

-Steve Hampton, architect and head of the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation