2nd wall collapse of Cincinnati’s oldest brewery forces demolition

Despite the efforts and desire of building owner Duane Donohoo to save the structure, Cincinnati’s oldest brewery was brought to the ground this past Sunday under an emergency demolition order from the City. Following the original wall collapse two weekends ago, the building at the northeast corner of Stonewall and McMicken (map), nicknamed “Brewers Blvd”, appeared destined to be rebuilt and saved from the wrecking ball, however high winds Friday triggered a second, larger collapse of the western wall leaving it as a dangerous liability.

With the one wall crumbling, and suggestions that the buildings facade may soon follow suit, Donohoo declined to fight the demolition out of concern for the safety of those in the vicinity of the building. Thus the oldest of seven structures that comprise the Clyffside Brewing complex in the northern section of Over the Rhine’s Brewery District has been lost.

When the two-story brick building was constructed in 1846, the facility brewed only a modest 275 barrels of beer in its first year of operation under its original moniker of George Klotter & Company. Since those days, expansions and ownership changes have seen the buildings produce ales and lagers under the banners of Sohn, Mohawk, the aforementioned Clyffside, and most recently as Red Top Brewing Company, before closing its doors on September 27, 1957, leaving over 150 Cincinnatians jobless

Regardless of this significant historical loss of the city’s history, Donohoo confirms the the redevelopment plan, which includes condos with terraced, city-view decks and indoor parking, will move forward in the remaining brewery buildings. When it is all said and done, Donohoo plans to put between $3-$3.5 million in the property, and still hopes for it to be an anchor of a revitalized Brewery District.

  • This really is sad news. And yet, this is just an important reminder of the need for the streetcar – parts of OTR are crumbling right in front of our eyes and if we don’t do something now our history will be lost forever.

  • Chris Nascimento

    Sad end to this historic structure. I had been in that section several times over past events. Seemed to have a lot of water coming into it. I know that concrete patches had been applied over several areas with cracks. I am no structural engineer, but one cannot help but wonder if that the extra weight of these “patches” contributed to the collapse? Perhaps tuck pointing would have been a more expensive, yet more effective fix? Now we will never know. This is a huge loss for the community.

  • Chris Nascimento

    One thing I am curious about is in this article, the owner Duane Donohoo indicates that he is moving ahead with the condo project and put 3 to 3.5 million dollars into the remaining buildings. The collapsed section had been slated to be indoor off-street parking. However, it appears that he has had the Clyffside Brewery property as a whole has been for sale over the last couple of months for $199,900. It can be found listed here:

    http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/16512791/244-246-W-McMicken-Cincinnati-OH/

    Will someone else be then taking over redevelopment of this historically valued piece of Cincinnati’s history and brewing heritage?

  • I think Duane has the support of investors. Since all of the condos were to be built once a buyer was found, and no buyers had been found yet, it might explain the listing…although I can’t say for sure.

  • Danny Klingler

    I just saw this. I knew it was in jeopardy but didn’t know it had been torn down. Terrible. And tragic. There are not many 1840’s buildings left AT ALL anymore.