Thrusday, January 07, 1999

Hudepohl beer brands being sold


Taste, names won't change

BY JEFF McKINNEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co., the Queen City's oldest and largest surviving brewer, is selling its beer division.

        The company's beer brands, part of Cincinnati's landscape since 1885, are being acquired for an undisclosed amount by a group of investors led by a former executive of a major brewer.

        But Tristate fans of the company's popular brands like Little Kings Cream Ale, Hudy Delight and Christian Moerlein will not see any immediate changes in how the beers taste, look or are sold.

        “As far as the consumer knows, the only thing is the change of ownership of the beer brands,” company spokesman Paul Abrams said.

        The company's beer division is being purchased by Royal Brewing LLC, a new Cincinnati-based company headed by Randy Hull, a former executive at G. Heileman Brewing Co. of LaCrosse, Wis.

        Mr. Hull said his group will brew and package Hudepohl's beer brands under the same recipes and qualities. He said the company will maintain its relationship with Boston Beer Co., which took over production of Hudy's trademark brands in 1997 when it bought the Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery on Central Parkway.

        The transaction is to be completed in March.

        Royal's acquisition includes all of Hudy's brands including Little Kings, Hudy Delight, Christian Moerlein, Burger and Mt. Everest Malt Liquor as well as importing and distribution rights for Whitbread Ale, Mackeson XXX Stout of Great Britain and Cerveza Panama. Royal also will take control of Hudy's microbrewery on Central Parkway.

        Ludwig Hudepohl II opened his Hudepohl Brewing Co. in 1885. Schoenling Brewing Co. opened on Central Avenue in 1933. Earl Lichtendahl, great-uncle of the company's president, Kenneth Lichtendahl, was a co-founder. The companies merged in 1986.

        Kenneth Lichtendahl said the current owners of Hudepohl-Schoenling will continue to operate as the Tradewinds Beverage Co., which will focus on increasing sales of the company's non-alcoholic line of iced teas and juice drinks.

        About half of the company's 21 employees will stay with Tradewinds. Mr. Abrams said it has not been determined whether the remaining workers would be hired by Royal Brewing.

        Mr. Abrams said the beer brands are being sold largely because sales in that line have been relatively flat or growing slightly the past several years.

       



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