The Portsmouth Brewery, established in 1842, was the Portsmouth, Ohio’s first commercial brewery.1 2 5 The brewery struggled for decades, as competition from an increasing number of German breweries were driving away business from the English-style brews that the Portsmouth Brewery specialized in.5 The Civil War also put a damper on the business, and by 1888, the brewery employed only eight people. In 1889, Julius Esselbom, a German brewer, purchased the company and the brewery rapidly expanded. A new brewhouse was constructed in the late 1890s.
In 1892, the brewery merged with a local ice company, and it was incorporated as “The Portsmouth Brewing and Ice Company.”5 Due to the cold temperatures that were required for the brewing of beer, many brewers chose to invest in their own ice-making facilities1 2 4 By 1904, the Portsmouth Brewery was producing 20,000 barrels of beer per year, and the ice plant was shipping 75 tons of ice per day. In 1919, the brewery was forced to cease the production of beer after the Prohibition act was passed, and it made an attempt at “near beers.” After that failed, the bottling works was taken over by the Portsmouth Whistle Bottling Company, and the ice-making plant housed the new Portsmouth Ice and Fuel Company.5
The buildings and possessions were sold at auction in 1930.1 3 After the repeal of National Prohibition in 1933, a group of investors wanted to reopen the brewery as the “Germania Brewing Company.” The venture, proposed in 1938, dud not fully materialize.
- Name: The Portsmouth Brewing and Ice Company
- Location: Portsmouth, Ohio
- Years of Significance: 1842
- Status: Demolished
- “Breweries Once Flourished in Portsmouth.” Portsmouth Daily Times 23 July 1995. 12 Dec. 2008.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
- Ohio Writers’ Project. “The Ohio Guide”. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1946.
- “Historic Boneyfiddle Region.” Scioto County Government 23 July 2007. 12 Dec. 2008 Listing.
- Miller, Carl H. “Breweries Once Flourished in Portsmouth.” Portsmouth Daily Times 23 July 1995. 12 Dec. 2008 Article.