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TIMELINE: OTR's historical brewing district

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From 1866 until 1919, Windisch-Mahlhauser operated The Lion Brewery on the Miami and Erie Canal at Liberty Street, becoming the largest producer of beer in the area. From 1866 until 1919, Windisch-Mahlhauser operated The Lion Brewery on the Miami and Erie Canal at Liberty Street, becoming the largest producer of beer in the area.
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OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) -

In the 1850's, over 60% of residents in OTR were German immigrants who brought their love of lager to the Tri-state. Just 30 years later, Cincinnati was crowned beer capital of the world, OTR being the heart of brewing.

As you stroll through the streets of Cincinnati's famed brewing district, evidence of the beer making history is easy to spot.

Author Mike Morgan decided to tell the story of OTR's brewing district in his book, Over-the-Rhine when Beer was King. He along with Steve Hampton give tours to personally share the history.

"This isn't just an old neighborhood with broken down buildings. It is the story of Cincinnati," says Hampton. "Everyone can trace their roots here and walking through that in person is a great way to reconnect with that."

Clyffside Brewery on McMicken may be rundown today, but it housed a number of brewing operations until 1964. Along side of Clyffside are several others just like it.

In addition to locals tracing their roots back to OTR, Cincinnati's brewing history has also gained national attention. HBO's hit show, Boardwalk Empire, is based on bootlegging during prohibition and focuses on Cincinnati attorney and famed bootlegger George Remus.

"While George Remus was running the show was really the epicenter of booze production during prohibition in the United States," says Morgan. "We have as much of a story as in the broader story of prohibition as does New York and Chicago...it just doesn't get told."

Today, not far from the newer buildings of downtown, these massive buildings are now crumbling. The cavernous rooms where workers once made beer sit empty.

Explaining the complications, Hampton continues, "The World Wars and Anti-German hysteria...The push back from that. The general abandonment of the urban core. America is sometimes about the new, and we forget the old."

Steve and Mike will be reminding everyone of Cincinnati's rich brewing history at this year's Bockfest happening March 1-3, 2013.

Many of the festivities will be just blocks away from where Christian Moerlein is brewing beer again and its original site.

You can check out photos from OTR's historical brewing district on the FOX19 Facebook Timeline.

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