Queen City, King of Beers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Saturday, 12 June 2010 09:05

Queen City, King of Beers
One man is working to restore Cincinnati as the Beer Capital of the Nation. Discover how he got his start in the industry and how his four-step plan is turning his dream into reality.

College classes and student organizations can make for a notable resume, but it was Greg Hardman's "extracurricular" activities at Ohio University that really paid off in the job market. Now president and CEO of Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, Hardman got his start in the beer industry right out of college as an account manager for the local Anheuser-Busch distributor. When he interviewed for his position, he didn't realize what company or exact position was up for grabs until he landed the job by ordering a Bud Light (after an impressive interview, of course!).


Hardman quickly moved up in the ranks at the distributor to sales supervisor to sales manager to general manager — all within about four years. While the beer was great, after nine years of living in Southeast Ohio, his job just wasn't satisfying his thirst to see the world.


So after hearing about a job opening up at Warsteiner, a smaller brewing company with German imports, Hardman gave his two weeks' notice — before he had even sent a resume to Warsteiner. Within about a week, though, he called Warsteiner, sent his resume, received a plane ticket, flew to Denver and was hired on the spot. 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIF


Hardman climbed the corporate ladder once more at Warsteiner until he reached the top as president of U.S. operations. The company even repositioned their U.S. head quarters to West Chester in 2000 to align with Hardman's Cincinnati hometown.


His hometown heart, however, is what caused Hardman to resign from Warsteiner in 2004. Along his career path, Hardman fell in love with Cincinnati's brewing heritage and beer history, so he set out to go back to his roots. "That's what I've devoted the rest of my career and the rest of my life of doing is celebrating Cincinnati's brewing heritage for this generation where we're at right now and many more to come," Hardman says.


To make sure there was something to celebrate, Hardman created a four-phase plan:

Phase 1: "Bring back the local ownership of some of Cincinnati beer brands."

Phase 2: "Reposition the brands to make them more relevant for today's consumers."

Phase 3: "Open local brewing operations."

Phase 4: "Open up a Moerlein Lager House in the city of Cincinnati."


Right now, Hardman is on track for all four. He has purchased the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and its subsidiary Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co., which brews Hudy Delight, Hudy 14-K, Burger Classic and Little Kings Cream Ale.


As for repositioning, every bottle of Christian Moerlein beer offers a tidbit of Cincinnati history, and he's rebranding Little Kings Cream Ale as a nostalgic brew with a tagline "If no one else remembered, it never happened."


The most exciting phases, though, are three and four. Brewing operations are set to start up at the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2011. Hardman is going back to the heritage with the site to be in the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District, where Christian Moerlein started in 1853. The exact location will be in the former Husman Potato Chip plant.


The fourth phase also is underway with the Moerlein Lager House set to open in the late spring or early summer of next year. Positioned right between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park in the Cincinnati Riverfront Park, the Moerlein Lager House will have a prime location to show off Cincinnati traditions. "We're really proud to have the location within the Cincinnati Riverfront Park because, again, we feel that celebrating our heritage is so key," Hardman says.

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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