German Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

Germans Were Pioneers of Cleveland Brewing

"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
23rd of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, date unknown

The development of Cleveland's brewing industry is closely connected with the story of the Germans here.

The word "beer" was unknown to the native Clevelanders as late as 1850. Only ale was consumed here in those days. There were exactly three persons who satisfied the needs of the town with ale.

Ives, whose place was on the spot where later the White Sewing Machine plant was erected; J. M. Hughes on West River St. and Keyes on St. Clair Ave.

Beer was imported from Buffalo; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh until two Germans, Schmidt and Hoffman, founded the first beer brewery in Cleveland in 1852 on Ansel Ave. Three decades later Uris Brewery was known as the Cleveland Brewing Co.

First Breweries Built

In 1855 Stumpf Bros. established their small brewing plant at comer of Davenport and Lake Aves., where much later the George F. Gund Brewery was located. About the same time Mathias Mack established a brewery on the place where the waterworks were erected.

In rapid succession came the breweries of John Dangeleisen on Forest St. near Broadway and of a man named Mueller who opened shop where later the Leisy Brewery was established.

In 1857 Leonhard Schlather started brewing beer in a plant at Bridge and York St. and in the same year Carl Ernest Gehring which later was named for him.

Small Output

In this area of brewing the methods of beer making were simple. The average brewery had a capacity of only four barrels and its full production was used by a certain saloon or "wirtschaft."

The malt was ground in a mill driven by horse. There was no ice in those days, consequently beer could not be made in the summer time. During the winter months brewers made as many barrels of beer as they could store in their cellars.

After the first ice cellar was established in Cleveland in 1870, beer making became a year round industry.

Columbia Brewing was established by Stoppel Bros. On Commercial St. in 1860, the same year when Keidel opened his Star Brewing Co. The latter was sold to George Muth and later to John M. Leicht and Strangmann.

The Beer Pioneers

Two partners, Lezius and Uihlein, founded at the corner of Jackson and Pittsburgh Sts. in 1861 the brewery which was acquired by J. Diebolt in 1891 and became known as Diebolt Brewing Co.

Two German pioneers, Kindsvater and Mall, established their brewery in 1860 on Davenport St. It was taken over later by Jacob Mall.

Isaac and August Leisy, natives of Griedelshein, Bavaria, came to Cleveland from Iowa in 1872 to attend a brewers' convention. They liked the city so much that the following year they took over the old Haltnorth Brewery at Vega and Rhodes Aves. And develpoed it into one of the largest breweries in Ohio.

In 1882 August Leisy went to Kansas. Isaac died here in 1892. His death was a great loss to the Cleveland German community since he had been a generous supporter of all German activities.

Son Carries On

His son Otto continued his father's interest in Cleveland German affairs.

The Beltz Brewing Co., Slather and Outwaithe Aves., was founded by Joseph Beltz in 1876.

George F. Gund came to Cleveland from Seattle in 1897 and bought the Jacob Mall Brewing Co. on Davenport St.

W. A. Oppman, native of Wuerzburg, Germany, opened his brewery in 1875 at Columbus and Willet Sts., and several years later merged it with the Phoenix Brewery Co.

In 1897 the Cleveland and Sandusky Brewing Co. was formed through the consolidation of the following breweries: Gehring, Cleveland, Phoenix, Columbia, Bohemian, Star, Baehr, Barrett, Union, Schlather, all of Cleveland, and Keubler and Stang of Sandusky.