ATHENS, Ohio - Reviving Cincinnati's brewing history and the German lager style of craft brew so popular in the 1880s, has been the focused mission of Greg Hardman, owner of Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine Brewery District since 2004.
Hardman, a 1984 graduate of Ohio University, returns to Athens, Ohio as the keynote speaker for the 7th Ohio Brew Week, June 22-30, 2012.
"Greg spearheaded a $10 million investment in craft brewing for Cincinnati, and is an inspiration for other visionaries in the craft brew industry," said Dan Gates, director of Ohio Brew Week. "We think Greg's story will enthuse brewers and craft brew lovers." Gates also added that OBW 2012 "is going to be the big reunion year that I knew one day would happen. With a loyal Ohio University alum such as Greg and the kind of passion he has for the industry, especially the history of the old styles of the great American brewers, and his love of Athens, this is going to be an exciting Ohio Brew Week."
Since 2004, Hardman has assembled all previous brands owned by the late great Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. of Cincinnati, which was a top 10 U.S. brewer through the late 90's. These brands include, Christian Moerlein, Little Kings Cream Ale, Hudepohl Amber Lager, Hudy Delight and Burger to name a few. In 2010, Hardman continued the return on Cincinnati's grand brewing traditions by brewing the first Christian Moerlein in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine Brewery District since the start of prohibition in 1919.
Hardman's goal, to return the grand brewing traditions that once made Cincinnati a brewing mecca in the 19th and 20th centuries, became reality in February when he officially opened the Moerlein Lager House next to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Riverfront Park. This 28,000 square foot building "will be one of the largest brewpubs in the world and a tribute to Cincinnati's brewing heritage," he said.
Hardman also serves as President of the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and as a trustee of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation. In 2011, Cincinnati Magazine named Hardman one of the top 35 "New Power Players" in Cincinnati and he was awarded ACG Cincinnati's (Association for Corporate Growth) 2011 Deal Maker Award's Entrepreneur of the Year.
Previously Hardman spent 18 years with Warsteiner Importers Agency, a subsidiary of Warsteiner Brauerei KG, Warstein, Germany a leading brewer of beer throughout the world. From 1997 to 2004, Hardman was President and CEO of Warsteiner Importers Agency's North American operation, during which time he earned the beverage industry's "Hot Brand Award" an astounding 6 out of 8 years he was leading the American sales effort.
Christian Moerlein is considered a pioneer brand of today's craft beer movement.
In 1984, a huge milestone was achieved and history made on January 13, when Christian Moerlein Select Lager was certified by the German VLB in Berlin as the first American beer to pass Germany's Reinheitsgebot Purity Law, enacted in 1516. The law states that all beers sold in Germany can contain only four ingredients: Yeast, barley malt, hops and water. It was later amended to include wheat. This achievement means that Christian Moerlein is the first American beer that can be sold in Germany.
Hardman holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with emphasis in Marketing and General Business from Ohio University, and is looking forward to returning to Athens to gather and meet with many old friends and professors.