OTR Brewery District launches brewery heritage trail

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati has a long history of making beer. At one point there were 36 breweries in the city with about half of them in Over the Rhine.

In an effort to tell that part of the city's history, a brewing heritage trail is being created.

Once the heritage trail is complete, it will extend from Over the Rhine to the river and will include original brewing sites the old Hudepol Brewery on East McMicken.

Steven Hampton, Executive Director of the Over the Rhine Brewery District says the heritage trail will help revitalize the neighborhood.

"Our mission is to preserve and redevelop this neighborhood by preserving and promoting our brewing heritage," said Hampton.

Hampton says the heritage trail will take a few years to complete, but initially it will include bottling plants, ice houses and homes of the beer barons.

"The main focus of the brewing heritage trail is going to be on the historic buildings and the events that happened in this neighborhood," he said.

Few people know more about Cincinnati's brewing heritage than Mike Morgan who wrote the book Over the Rhine: When Beer Was King. Morgan says the trail will help bring the city's brewery heritage to life.

"Our mission is to bring those stories forward and help people fall in love with this city," he said.

Morgan says the heritage trail will also reconnect Over the Rhine with downtown.

"This heritage trail is about a broader vision of this city," he said. It is about tying all of our downtown together. We cannot hide from the fact that half of our downtown is Over the Rhine. We need to celebrate that fact and we need to leverage that fact."

Greg Hardman, CEO of the Christian Moerlein Brewing company says leveraging the city's beer heritage is expected to provide an economic boost from tourism.

"Its about 8 million people and we feel we can get 10-percent of that to take a brewery heritage trail," said Hardman.

City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld says more tourists is good for business.

"Create new jobs and commerce and I think we can all drink to that," said Sittenfeld.

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