Born on a riverbank, forged in fire. A literal phoenix that clawed its way out of the ashes, faded again, then rose once more to become the historic home of our modern-day brewpub. Quite a story, no? That’s just the start. ’Cuz now it’s been baptized in beer – a legacy passed down to us from our Queen City’s roots, its German immigrants and their love of lagers, beer barons and secret tunnels. In 1890, Cincy was home to two of the nation’s largest breweries (shipping beer across the county) with more than 20 others working their turn-of-the-century hops and malt magic. Fine craft beer? It’s more than a trend – it’s tradition.
Around the same time, up the river and through the woods, another industry was making history (patents included) – and business was booming. It’s impossible to talk about the Peters Cartridge Company without first mentioning the Great Western Powder Works – the mill purchased by Ahimaaz and JW King in 1877, the success of which conceived the company town, Kings Mills.
There’s also Gershom Moore Peters – a hobby inventor with a few patents under his belt, who joined forces with the King family at their mill in the early 1880s as both Ahimaaz’s son-in-law and vice president. Gershom’s challenge? Create a machine that would mechanically load cartridges, speeding up productivity (and eliminating hand-loading). By 1885, Gershom succeeded, and two years later, the Peters Cartridge Company was born.
Some of you know what comes next in 1890: a railway crash, an explosion, buildings destroyed, a railway sued, a business (and buildings) rebuilt. The complex we know today as the Peters Cartridge Company, with its iconic sawtooth roof and looming shot tower, was completed in 1919. Military contracts allowed the company to enter World War I as a massive munitions manufacturer – a golden age when the factory employed thousands, most of whom were women, and produced more than 1 million cartridges daily. Remington (owned by DuPont) bought the company in 1933 and utilized it for World War II efforts – ensuring the behemoth of a building served as a munitions factory until 1945, when it passed through multiple hands (the likes of Columbia Records, Seagram Distillers, and a cabinet company respectively) before ultimately falling into disuse in 1968. LensCrafters and a haunted house team gave it a go in the late 80s and early 90s, as did a few others – nothing stuck.
Until it did. It took a lot of planning, more than a dozen years, hundreds (and hundreds) of hours, but Bloomfield/Schon was the spark that finally brought the entire Peters Cartridge Factory complex back to roaring, blazing life. And that’s where we come in … Cartridge Brewing combines all this reverence and antiquity into one restored destination that also happens to feature several classic German beers.
Our brewhouse founders and original owners, Anthony Cook, and Kyle and Lindsey Hackbarth, dreamed of a brewpub that would honor both our city’s brewing legacy and the hub built by King and Peters. And in October of 2020, they succeeded, opening our doors amid pandemic-laced fanfare. Just over two years later, Cartridge Brewing was acquired by Cleveland’s Saucy Brew Works, becoming the 6th brewpub in their Ohio-Michigan beer empire. But that’s not really where the story ends …
“The historic nature of our brewhouse, where so many people have a story to tell about their grandparents working here, or what they remember about this place when they were kids … that’s so important to us, to carry that tradition, to tap into the roots of our area and honor it the right way,” says Adam Mills, head brewer.
We tell these stories every day, through our beer, our food, and our persistence in creating community within these aged walls. It’s who we are – a brewpub that’s honoring the past, brewing the future.