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From the book, "Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I" by Dr. Robert A. Musson.


C. F. Achauer/Washingon Brewery/Simon Linser

Muskingum County's largest and longest-lasting brewery began operations in the 1840s, although exactly when Christian Frederick Achauer built the Washington Brewery remains unclear. Achauer was born in 1804 in Wurtemburg, Bavaria. He embarked on a nine-week voyage to America in 1835, landing in New York. He came to Zanesville soon after this, and initially worked in the American House Brewery of Christian Haas. In September 1841 he purchased the property on which the brewery would stand, at 350 E. Main Street, on the top of a hill overlooking the city. He and his family then moved to Dresden, in northern Muskingum County, for several years. Whether the brewery had been built by that time or not is unknown.

In any case, Achauer returned to Zanesville around 1848, and after that time he is known to have operated the Washington Brewery. Consisting of a main three-story stone brewhouse and a nearby malting house, the plant had two stone-lined underground caves built into the hillside for storing beer. The steep hill forced the horse-drawn beer wagons to stop to rest on their way to the brewery. This might have been a problem for a larger establishment, but this one was producing under 500 barrels of ale and common beer annually through the 1870s. By that time, the city had gradually worked on reducing the hill's steep grade, so that horses could climb it much more easily without having to rest. In May 1881, Achauer was killed when he fell from a gangway in the brewery. A storm was moving through the area, and was blowing open windows and doors in the brewhouse. When he went out to try to close them, he accidentally fell through a trap door and died soon afterward. His son, Herman Achauer, was an attorney who lived across the street. He continued operation of the brewery for three years before selling it to Simon Linser, Sr. and Henry Zinsmeister in 1884.

Linser was born in Baden, Germany in 1852 and came to America in 1873. After working in New York and Cincinnati, he came to Zanesville in 1880, where he first worked for the Brenner & Co.'s City Brewery before purchasing the Washington Brewery. In 1891, he bought out Zinsmeister's share to become the sole owner. By this time, the plant's annual capacity had increased to 10,000 barrels and employed ten to twelve men.

The brewery was incorporated as the Simon Linser Brewing Company on January 1, 1901, with a capital stock of $200,000. By this time, the company had purchased the Star and Riverside (renamed as the Bavarian Brewing Co.) breweries elsewhere in town, and it continued to operate each for several years. Linser was the president and general manager of the new corporation, with his son Simon, Jr. as secretary and treasurer, and another son, Charles, as the brewmaster. David Schmid (Smith), who also owned a large roofing company in town, was the vice-president. Linser lived next door in the former Achauer home with his wife and twelve children (from two marriages).

Linser began a process of expansion of the brewery in 1895 with the addition of a modern refrigerating plant. New brewing equipment was added after the turn of the century, expanding production dramatically to over 40,000 barrels annually by 1903. A decade later came the addition of a 30-ton ice plant and a modern bottling house. With the renumbering of streets at this time, the plant's address became 976 East Main Street.

Around this time came the introduction of Hill Top Beer, which became the company's anchor brand for several years. Typical advertising slogans at the time included "They cry from the house top, Give Us Linser's Hill Top"; "A glass of Linser's Hill Top makes your lunch palatable"; "Linser's hobby: pure beer or no beer"; and "If your system's out of gear, try a glass of Linser's beer". Some years later, the Hill Top name was replaced by a new anchor brand, "American Maid" Beer, which was advertised in a similar fashion. Linser retired from active brewing in 1915, at which time William Weisman was hired to be the brewmaster. Remaining plant operations were turned over to Simon Linser Jr. and another son, Herman. Their father remained in Zanesville, however, until his death in 1941.

Beer production came to a halt on November 18, 1918 due to the immediate post-war Prohibition act. The remaining beer on hand was sold off over the next few months, at which time the company converted production to near beer and soft drinks, known as Hill Top Beverages, while continuing ice production. The capital stock was lowered to $100,000 at this time. Production continued until 1928, when it was no longer felt to be profitable, and the plant shut down completely.

After Repeal in 1933, Linser Jr. reorganized the Simon Linser Company, with the hope of starting brewing operations again. The plan involved a complete modernization of the plant, costing between $50,000 and $75,000. Due mostly to economic factors of the Great Depression, it never became a reality, and brewing operations never took place again. The company became a distributorship for beer and wine, including the local contracts for Leisy Beer (of Cleveland), Gambrinus Beer (of Columbus), and Burkhardt Beer (of Akron).

Linser retired around 1958, but continued to live in the century-old house next door to the brewery until his death in 1963. The plant was then rented to the Gambrinus ("Gam") Distributing Co., which operated it until 1965. For the next ten years, the plant sat vacant until vandals set fire to one of the buildings. It was condemned by the city after that, and partly razed in 1975. The remaining buildings, including the original one from the 1840s, were razed in 1982, and the underground beer cellars were filled in with dirt. An empty lot is all that remains today, although a few feet of brick foundation from one of the buildings remains on the hillside.

Copyright 2005 by Zepp Publications


» Read more about this and other Ohio breweries in Dr. Robert A. Musson's book, "Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I: A History of the Brewing Industry in Eastern Ohio from 1808 to 2004."

 


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