Monday, October 17, 2016

Fading Advertisements: Wiedemann's Fine Bohemian-Style Beer + Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc.

A local brew making a comeback still has signs of its past around town.

Nope, here's a lesson on why you don't assume things.

10/19/2016 - 8:13 PM Correction and Edit: This post originally started off by telling you the history of the George Wiedemann Brewing Company and two fading advertisements/ghost signs that could still be found in the area. However, as it turns out, one of those signs actually references a completely different business. In the first sign, "Wiedemann" is the most easily distinguishable word. While you can see a few others, I just assumed that it must be referencing the well known local beer brand and didn't delve that much further into it since I photographed this sign for a simple blog post, rather than the book.

However, commenter Jon Newberry (of Wiedemann's current form) wrote below that this sign was actually for a different company with a similar family name. He writes:

"That sign on Reading Road is not for Wiedemann's beer. It's for Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc. an unrelated entity that operated at that location in the late 1920s. Not sure what it did.
Wiedemann's is really good beer, though. Fine Beer indeed!"

As it turns out, Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc. was likely some sort of automobile repair or parts dealer. An old advertisement of theirs appearing in The Cincinnati Enquirer on May 7th, 1929 states that they sell and service "The New Super De Luxe" tire from Lee of Conshohocken.

If anyone knows more about the Wiedemann and Dreidame company, leave a thought in the comments below or send me an email.

Thanks again to Jon for the correction and pointing me in the direction of some interesting history (and for keeping a delicious beer brand alive).

The beer history continues after these photos of the Reading Rd. sign.

10/19/2016 - 8:44 PM Correction and Edit No. 2: Literally right after posting the initial correction, I noticed something else about the old advertisement. You can clearly make out the words "Lee" and "Tire" in the above photograph. Maybe, although it's not perfectly clear, it says "Conshohocken" directly after. Perhaps Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc. exclusively dealt in the service and repair of just Lee of Conshohocken tires?

- Hillside steps connecting Reading Rd. to Highland Ave. that pass right by the sign. 

- Detail of the sign near the hillside steps. 

There's a few alcohol related signs in Fading Ads of Cincinnati. Some of them are even of the local variety, emblazoned with brands such as Cincy’s Little Kings and Covington’s Bavarian. One of the interesting things about authoring and photographing that book is how the subject of fading advertisements came about. I had been aware of them, thought they were interesting, even had a story about them on a long list of potential QC/D updates that there never seems to be time for. Then I was recruited for the book. I learned to appreciate them and subsequently now see them everywhere, still coming across more in Cincinnati as well as on the road. Some didn't make the cut for the book either being left on the editing floor or just not having the time to go seek them out. Two of the more recent ones I've personally come across (Bill Rinehart has usually already found it I'm seeing it for the first time) are for another local alcohol brand: Wiedemann's Fine Bohemian-Style Beer.

George Wiedemann was a German immigrant who found himself in Cincinnati by way of New York and Louisville sometime after crossing the Atlantic in 1853. George moved to across the river to Newport, KY in 1870 when he established his first brewing practice. A partnership with a local brewery lead to the eventual purchase of another. Combining both, George established the George Wiedemann Brewing Co. and was producing around 100,000 barrels a year. With his brewery the largest in the state backed by a solid reputation and popular drinks, George passed away in 1890 leaving the business to his sons.

George’s kids continued to expand and grow the business. According to the company's website, the two brothers grew Wiedemann’s into the Southeast’s largest brewery operation, making deliveries with a stable of 150 horses. The company survived Prohibition and continued to grow in the 20th Century alongside other famous local brands such as Hudepohhl and Bavarian.

Like many other local breweries though, Wiedemann’s would struggle as larger national chains encroached on long held local territories. However, the Wiedemann brand lived on even though it wasn't produced locally anymore. Although the Newport facility closed in 1983, production continued under a new owner in Evansville, Indiana. By 2006, another new owner had run into financial trouble and ceased making the brand, just before Cincinnatians began a new love affair and demand for reviving local brewing with brands both new and historic.

The Wiedemann's brand eventually got in on the resurgent local brew scene in 2011. As new owners Jon and Betsy Newberry partnered with another local brand, Listermann's, Wiedemann’s Special Lager was developed to bridge gap between the company’s traditional bohemian style and modern day craft beer. The Wiedemann's website describes it as such:

"The result was Wiedemann’s Special Lager, a crisp and flavorful lager in the Bohemian tradition. It’s a thirst-quenching, light-bodied beer designed to have when you’re having more than one, maybe more than a few!"
There's two Wiedemann's fading advertisements/ghost signs that I've come across in recent months. The first one sits just off of Reading Rd, facing south, on the side of a building near the hillside steps that connect up to Highland Ave.

The Wiedemann Beer ghost sign isn't of the typical variety featured in the book. It doesn't adorn a brick wall or permanent structure, rather it's emblazoned on the side of an old, silver finished trailer. Technically in Hamilton, Ohio, but right at the border of Fairfield, Ohio on N. Gilmore Rd., it sits about 25 miles or so from where the brewery was original founded in Newport, KY.

If anyone has the story on how the trailer ended up out there, I'd love to hear it. Even if it's not the atypical "ghost sign," it's a "Fading Ad of Cincinnati," all the same.

- N. Gilmore Rd. splitting Hamilton and Fairfield, Ohio. 

More fading ads from around the area, and elsewhere, coming soon.


  1. I was an 18 yr old in Hamilton OH when we could legally drink 3.2 beer. Ugh, it was awful. When we could we would have someone buy us Little Kings cream ale, best ever. As a child my Grandparents bought Weidamann by the case. It came in a huge box. They would fill the box back up with empties to be reused.

  2. That sign on Reading Road is not for Wiedemann's beer. It's for Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc. an unrelated entity that operated at that location in the late 1920s. Not sure what it did.
    Wiedemann's is really good beer, though. Fine Beer indeed!

    1. Wow, thank you for pointing this out! I just assumed when I saw Wiedemann that it had to be the beer brand. Looks like Wiedemann and Dreidame Inc. was some sort of tire dealer/service provider or an auto repair shop of sorts. The article's been amended to reflect that.

      Also, have to agree with you on how good Wiedemann's is. I'm very grateful to the people who brought it back!

  3. I keep meaning to go back to see that again. It was covered in vines when I saw it last. (Which oddly enough, was 3 years and 3 days ago!)

    1. I bet in the winter it'll look pretty clear. Shall we go see it and then grab a beer?

  4. Where is the Wiedemann trailer in relation to the bottom photo with the transformer and lines. That's one lovely photograph, beer sign or no.

    1. Thanks! It's on N. Gilmore road heading towards the Butler County Airport.