Monday, September 08, 2014

Beer and Urban Revitaliation
Today's post reflects back on my post from a week or two ago about urban sprawl.  In that post, we learned that studies show the future of smart growth in the U.S. favors urban revitalization, compact, and connected living.  As a special treat this weekend, my husband and I were able to experience a little urban connected-ness in downtown Cincinnati and it's historic and impressive Findlay Market.  We met there and explored the market a bit - all of the vendors and their wares were interesting.  We saw local honey, organic and local vegetables, grassfed beef, amish poultry, gelato, wheatgrass smoothies, "stupid hot bacon," and local craft beer.

Like other cities, Cincinnati is slowly revitalizing it's downtown areas and neighborhoods.  The Banks project has brought new retail, dining, and housing options to the riverfront area, and now the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood is following suit.  So what's the beer connection to revitalization?  Well Cincinnati is historically a beer town.  In the late 1800's German immigrants settling in the OTR area brought their brewing craft with them.  Hundreds of different brewers have practiced their craft in Cincinnati, and at one time in the late 19th century, 36 breweries were operating simultaneously in the city.   Eighteen of those were located in OTR.  Beer was a huge industry and many of the brewing industry buildings are still standing.  The Over-the-Rhine Brewery District is a non-profit organization whose mission is revitalization of this historic district.
Our purpose for visiting Over-the-Rhine this weekend was to attend an "Underground Historic Brewery Tour," but what we really saw was a neighborhood on the precipice of some pretty impressive development.  One of the breweries we visited was recently purchased by a group of investors who are creating an entertainment and music venue there.  The streetcar project will also serve this neighborhood, as does the newly renovated Cincinnati School for the Performing Arts and Washington Park.  The proceeds from our tour ticket today goes directly into revitalization projects in the neighborhood.

Needless to say, it was an amazing tour and we definitely learned a lot.  If you are local to Cincinnati, I would encourage you to support this organization (and when you take a historic brewery tour, you get a free, locally brewed craft beer at the end of the tour).  If you aren't in the Cincinnati area, I encourage you to seek out and support revitalization projects and efforts in your city.

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