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


The origins of the Kauffman Brewing Company date to 1844 when Franklin Brewery was founded by John Kauffman.1 It was located on Lebanon Road, later named Reading Road, near Deer Creek, but was moved Kauffman and his nephew, George F. Eichenlaub and Rudoff Rheinboldt to Vine Street and operated under the company name Kauffman and Company. The first of several structures was completed in 1860. It was during this time that Kauffman purchased the Schneider grist mill on Walnut Street at McMicken Avenue, but decided to lease it out to another company.

The brewery produced approximately 1,000 barrels per year by 1861 1 2 and was renamed Kaufmann Brewery two years later.2 The brewery was the fourth largest in the city by 1871, selling over $30,930 beer and producing up to 25,000 barrels per year.1 2 By 1877, Kauffman was producing over 50,000 barrels per year, selling in many markets in the midwest, south and the southeast. It’s main beers included “Gilt Edge Bohemian,” “Pale Lager,” “Columbia,” and “Standard.”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!”

In 1865, Eichenlaub retired 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 incorporated as the John Kauffman Brewing Company in 1882, and at this point, the brewery was very profitable and had a paid-in capital stock of $700,000.1 It expanded with a new brewery structure at 1622 Vine Street in 1888, followed by an employee dormitory in 1876. The office and family residence was located at 1625 and 1627 Vine Street, although both were demolished in 1922. The complex occupied approximately five acres.

By 1890, Kauffman produced 55,000 barrels per year.2

John Kauffman passed away in 1892 and his wife Marianne Eichenlaub Kauffman took over operations and became president.1 Brewery production peaked in 1894 2 when Kauffman produced 70,000 barrels of beer per year, and the malt house had a production capacity of 150,000 bushels of barley.

The brewery closed in 1919 when Prohibition was enacted, and Kauffman never reopened after the law was repealed in 1933.1



  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.