The John Kauffman Brewing Company, a defunct brewery at 1622 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio, was known for its “Gilt Edge,” “Columbia,” and “Old Lager” beers. It closed in 1919 when Prohibition was enacted and never reopened.


The origins of the Kauffman Brewing Company date to 1844 when Franklin Brewery, on Lebanon Road (today’s Reading Road) near Deer Creek, was founded by John Kauffman.1 The site was short-lived, as it moved by Kauffman and his nephew, George F. Eichenlaub and Rudoff Rheinboldt, to Vine Street and operated under the company name Kauffman & Company. The first of several buildings was completed in 1860. It was during this time that Kauffman purchased the Schneider grist mill on Walnut Street at McMicken Avenue but then decided to lease it out to another company.

Kauffman & Company produced about 1,000 barrels per year by 1861.1 2 In 1863, the brewery was renamed Kaufmann Brewery to reflect its primary operations,2 and by 1871, it was the fourth largest in the city, selling over $30,930 beer and producing up to 25,000 barrels per year.1 2 Kauffman was producing over 50,000 barrels per year by 1877, selling “Gilt Edge Bohemian,” “Pale Lager,” “Columbia,” and “Standard” in many markets in the Midwest, South and the Southeast.2 A popular slogan used by Kauffman repeatedly appealed to the sickly during the time: “A liquid food for the invalid a wholesome beverage for the healthy!”

When Eichenlaub retired in 1865, followed by Rheinbold twelve years later;1 2 Kauffman became the sole owner of the brewery. During this time, his son, John, studied brewing in Augsburg, Germany and later worked for his father’s company. Emil Schmidt, Kauffman’s son-in-law, became superintendent of the site in 1877.

John Kauffman Brewery

Kaufmann Brewery was renamed the John Kauffman Brewing Company in 1882. The brewery was very profitable and had a paid-in capital stock of $700,000.1 It expanded with an employee dormitory in 1876 and a new brewery production building at 1622 Vine Street in 1888. The office and family residence were located at 1625 and 1627 Vine Street, although both were demolished in 1922.

By 1890, Kauffman produced 55,000 barrels per year,2 peaking in 1894 2 when Kauffman produced 70,000 barrels of beer per year.

John Kauffman passed away in 1892 and his wife Marianne Eichenlaub Kauffman took over operations and became president.1 Kauffman Brewery closed in 1919 when Prohibition was enacted and the business never reopened after the law was repealed in 1933.1

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  1. Wimberg, Robert J. “The John Kauffman Brewing Co.” Cincinnati Breweries. 2nd ed. 1989. Cincinnati: Ohio Book Store, 1997. 86-90. Print.
  2. Hampton, Steve. Prohibition Resistance Text. Cincinnati: n.p., 2010. N. pag. Print.