Brewing in Covington Bavarian Brewing Company, Covington Kentucky

The history of brewing in Covington parallels the history of brewing in Cincinnati. Between 1837 and 1966, there was at least one brewery in operation in Covington. At the time Julius Deglow opened the Bavarian Brewery in 1867, there were five breweries in operation. The first brewery opened in downtown Covington at the intersection of Pike and Scott in 1837. It was begun by a man named Peter Jonte, a Frenchman. By 1842, this brewery had been taken over by Charles Geisbauer, a German, who continued to operate it until 1877. According to the 1850 Manufacturing Census, Geisbauer produced 10,000 barrels of beer each year and employed 7 men. By 1870, production was measured in gallons; Geisbauer's brewery produced 225,060 gallons. He had 13 employees in 1870. Although this brewery changed hands several times, it was in continuous operation for 73 years, from 1837 until 1912. One building associated with this Brewery still remains at the southwest corner of Pike and Scott. It appears to date from the 1860s, and was the office building for the brewing complex.

The second brewery to open in Covington was the Lexington Brewery, located in the neighborhood of as Lewisburg. This brewery was originally operated by a woman, Mrs. Margaret Duhme, who lived in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. This brewery remained in operation for only 23 years, under a variety of names. In 1870, this brewery produced 4,500 barrels each year. Charles Lang was the third brewery operator in Covington; he opened the Lewisburg Brewery in 1866; this later became the Covington Brewing Company (in 1895), which remained in operation until 1905. No buildings remain from either of these breweries.

In addition to these breweries, a group of about eight "tavern brewers" were active in Covington between 1860 and 1883. These smaller brewers, who apparently brewed beer for use in their own saloons, were located in the vicinity of the Licking River, on Covington's east side. At this time, it was in fact not uncommon for beer to be brewed in taverns and saloons, for consumption in the tavern only.

The brewery initially begun by Julius Deglow which evolved into the Bavarian Brewery was the fourth brewery to operate in Covington. In 1870, the brewery produced 7,341 barrels of beer annually. By 1914, the capacity of the brewery was 216,000 barrels or 6,796,000 gallons (advertisement for The Bavarian Brewing Company in 1914 Centennial publication). The history and evolution of the Bavarian Brewery echoes the history and evolution of breweries in Greater Cincinnati in many ways. For example, the increase in capacity cited above reflects an industry-wide trend, which is representative of breweries in Greater Cincinnati as a whole. Other changes to the Bavarian include a bottling plant, shows up as early as 1886. Major changes to the physical plant occurred in 1903, within the time period when many Cincinnati brewers were rebuilding their structures, in response in large part to the changes in technology. The new structure built for the Bavarian is monumental in character, yet reflects a concern for the appearance and style of the building.