The rebirth of the Nashville Brewing Company

Nashville Brewery
A sketch of the Nashville Brewery circa 1860's from 100 Years of Brewing (published in 1903)
Nashville Brewing Acadia Publishing, 2006
Nashville Brewery Lager Beer Article
An 1859 editorial introducing the Nashville Brewery
Nashville Union and American, Feb. 2, 1859

1850's-1860's

Just prior to the Civil War in 1859 Jacob Stiefel (aka “Stifel”) built a small brewery just south of downtown Nashville. This endeavor was due to Nashvillians’ request for fresh local beer, which was virtually nonexistent in the South, as most beer was transported via riverboat from the Midwest. Located on South High Street (now 6th Ave S.), the Nashville Brewery opened its doors to satisfy the thirst of the city’s hard-working citizens.

Stifel & Pfeiffer
An 1865 editorial reintroducing the South Nashville Brewery after the Civil War
Nashville Union and American Sept. 5, 1865

1860's-1870's

Though operations halted briefly during the Civil War, the brewery overcame the disruptions and re-opened in 1864. With a focus on German style lagers, Stiefel and his business partner Louis Pfeiffer, continued brewing quality beer for the next 12 years under the name South Nashville Brewery.

South Nashville Brewery
An envelope from the South Nashville Brewery (from the collection of Scott Mertie).
South Nashville Lager Beer Brewery
Letterhead from the South Nashville Brewery (from the collection of Scott Mertie).
Nashville Lager Beer
An 1873 article describing the Brewery and Nashville Lager
The Daily American March 12, 1873

1870's-1880's

Due to the sudden death of Pfeiffer in April 1876 the, Nashville Brewery was operated briefly by J.B. Kuhn. Over the course of the next decade, there would be various owners of the Nashville Brewing Company. The Maus Brothers took over in 1877 and three years later John Burkhardt in 1880. In 1883, Burkhardt partnered with William and Archibald Walker of Cincinnati (via Scotland). Two years later, the Walker brothers bought out Burkhardt and operated the brewery through the end of the 1880s.

South Nashville Brewery
An 1878 picture of the South Nashville Ale and Lager Brewery (aka Nashville Brewery) when it was owned by C.A. Maus & Brothers.
Nashville Brewing Acadia Publishing, 2006
Nashville Bock Beer
Two 1880 ads for Nashville Brewing Company’s beer
The Daily American Feb. 24, 1880 & March 7, 1880
Nashville Brewing Lager Beer
An 1883 ad for the Nashville Brewing Company, under the ownership of Burkhart and the Walker Brothers
The Daily American May 25, 1883

1880's-1890's

In the summer of 1889, Archibald died suddenly, which prompted the sale of the Nashville Brewing Company to two German brewers from Cincinnati. In January 1890, the prominent Cincinnati brewer, Christian Moerlein acquired the Nashville Brewing Company, with his apprentice, William Gerst.

As a result of Moerlein’s successful Cincinnati endeavors, he practically had unlimited resources to invest into the Nashville brewery. He had plans to rebuild the brewery into one of the largest operations in the South. Gerst relocated to Nashville to oversee operations of the newly named Moerlein-Gerst Brewing Company.

Nashville Brewery
A photograph of the Nashville Brewing Company – circa 1885
Nashville Brewing Acadia Publishing, 2006
Nashville Beer
An 1891 ad reflecting the last known reference of the Nashville Brewing Company
The Daily American Oct. 22, 1891

1890's-1954

By the end of 1890, the original Nashville Brewery was rebuilt into a massive complex, with the capacity of brewing 50,000 barrels annually. Gerst later bought Moerlein’s shares of the brewery in 1893 and operated as the famous William Gerst Brewing Company until 1954 when it closed due to national competition.

NBC Historical Marker
Historical marker for the Nashville Brewery donated by the Mertie family.

1990's-2000's

When Scott Mertie moved to Nashville in 1992, he began collecting breweriana from the Gerst Brewing Co. Over the next decade, he started obtaining more information about Nashville’s brewing past. In 2006 Mertie wrote Nashville Brewing (Acadia Publishing 2006). In 2011, Scott and his wife spearheaded the Nashville Historical Commission to erect a marker where this historic brewing location existed for nearly 100 years. See more on Scott's background.

Nashville Craft Beer
Scott Mertie admiring the first batch of beer by the Nashville Brewing Company (2016).

2016

Mertie’s dream of reviving the Nashville Brewing Company became a reality when Nashville Lager, hit the market in December 2016. Mertie partnered with long-time friend Kent Taylor, co-founder of Blackstone Brewing Co., to contract brew the brand. It is appropriate that Blackstone is Nashville’s oldest operating craft-brewery, dating back to 1994. Over 165 years since the Nashville Brewery opened, the brand is now available again for thirsty Nashvillians to enjoy again.

Nashville Lager Awards

2017

Nashville Brewing Company's Nashville Lager won Beer Army Beer War's 2017 Gold Medal in the Munich Helles category.

Nashville Brewing Company's Nashville Lager Beer won Can Can's 2017 Bronze Medal in the Helles category.

2017 Gold Medal - Munich Helles
2017 Bronze Medal - Helles
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In stores and on draft everywhere in Nashville.