June 21 2013

Grayscale Cincinnati Seeks to Reactivate Former Brewery Complex

The former Jackson Brewery stands at 208 Mohawk Street, facing southward with an impressive view of the downtown Cincinnati skyline. The iconic building – with its well-known “METAL BLAST” logo – has maintained an enduring place in Cincinnati brewing history. The brewery, which has gone through many uses since its closing, will soon be reborn as Grayscale Cincinnati, a new business venture seeking to transform it into a dynamic multi-use performance venue.

Future site of Grayscale, Google Maps

Front Facade of Jackson Brewery, future site of Grayscale

Looking towards downtown Cincinnati out window at Grayscale

The project team for Grayscale brings specializations in architecture, music and acoustics, comprised of Dominic Marino, Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Studies at CCM and Scott Hand AIALEED AP BD+C. Together, they envision a 192 live seat theatre and a 300-person music venue. But that’s not all. The building will also house a working craft brewery on the first floor, along with the possibility for potential partnerships with local Cincinnati businesses.

Inside Grayscale looking towards location of new microbrewery

The name Grayscale began when Hand started a record label in 2001. The name was kept as he and Marino began working together, thinking of creating a “music venue/recording setup.” According to Hand, “The original name implied a full spectrum of things based around one central concept.” This concept, in addition to its own creative ingenuity and contribution to the city, will in many ways, intersect with the vision of Brewery District Urban Community Redevelopment Corporation and the City of Cincinnati. Grayscale will also be located very near the future Cincinnati Streetcar, adding to its accessibility.

A Historic Brewery

According to information from Robert J. Wimberg, (author of Cincinnati Breweries) the area that would become the Jackson Brewery was originally purchased by two German brothers from Wurttemberg, Germany, named Mreinrard and Fridolin Kleiner in 1854.  Five years later in 1859, the brothers built the brewery seen today, which by 1871 was the fifth largest brewery in Cincinnati. The brewery would later change hands to the George Webber Brewing Company in 1884, reaching its peak in 1885 with an annual production of 100,000 barrels of beer, employing 62 men. In addition to its local distribution, beer was shipped as far away as Louisiana.

Original Jackson Brewery Logo, obtained through grayscalecincinnati.com

The brewery was later closed during Prohibition, but in 1934 it would briefly reopen through Squibb-Pattison Breweries Inc. While attempting to stay in business, it would later close due to increasing financial stress in 1942. Afterward, the building was subsequently occupied for heavy industrial uses.

How does Grayscale Cincinnati connect to urban design and architectural heritage of your city? Can you name any breweries close to you, which are being adapted to changing uses? Please respond with your thoughts

For more information on how to get involved with Grayscale Cincinnati, please email info@grayscalecincinnati.com or visit their facebook page.

Credits: Photographs by Geoff Bliss. Data linked to sources.

Geoff Bliss

Geoff Bliss grew up in Woodstock, New York and will soon graduate from the Master of Community Planning program at the University of Cincinnati with a focus in Physical Planning. He holds a B.S. in Applied Arts & Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied Political Science & Archeology. With broad interests in Urban Planning, Geoff is interested finding relationships between Sustainable Development, Urban Archeology, Public Art, and DIY Urbanism. As a Grid blogger, Geoff reported on a wide range of Urban Planning & Urban Design topics in New York City and Cincinnati, OH.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 21st, 2013 at 9:15 am and is filed under Architecture, Branding, Community/Economic Development, Content, Engineering, History/Preservation, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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