First (documented) Cincinnati Brewer

1805 population from 1853 Cincinnati city directory
Excerpt from 1853 Williams' City Directory

The 1853 Cincinnati city directory listed “2 brewers” among the city’s professions in 1805 without identifying them by name; James Dover was probably one of those, but the other is unknown.

In July 1806, James Dover placed an advertisement in the leading (actually the only) media outlet of the day ... the Liberty Hall & Cincinnati Mercury newspaper for a large volume of brewing ingredients:

  • 500 pounds of well cured HOPS
  • 1,000 bushels of good BARLEY
  • 1,000 gallons of well-strained HONEY

... to be delivered to his "Brew & Bake-house in Sycamore street opposite the Market-house".

How much beer would this actually make?

Well, one bushel of barley is about 48 pounds (according to the University of Missouri Agriculture Department), so based on generic Colonial ale recipes, one bushel would probably yield about 18-20 gallons of beer.  An order of this size would brew about 500-600 barrels (using the 1803 English beer barrel standard of 36 gallons/barrel).

Liberty Hill & Cincinnati Mercury
Cincinnati map - Joseph Gest - 1838

Where was the brewery?

James listed his location as "opposite the market-house, in Sycamore Street".  One of the early predecessors of Findlay Market, the Pearl Street (or Lower) Market was established in 1804 and ran between Sycamore and Broadway on Pearl Street (parallel to 2nd and 3rd Streets).  This cut-out view of surveyor Joseph Gest's 1838 Cincinnati map has been annotated with a red "X" showing the approximate location based on that description.

This would put the "Brew & Bake-house" on the west side of Sycamore Street about halfway between 2nd and 3rd Streets. This is marked as location # 1 on the Cincinnati Brewing History Map.

What's there now? 

Ft Washington Way expressway

The Fort Washington Way expressway now covers what used to be the Sycamore block between 2nd and 3rd Streets.  The red "X" marks the approximate brewery site under the expressway westbound lanes.