August Wagner Breweries

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August Wagner Breweries, Inc.
Industry Beverages
Founded Columbus, Ohio in 1906
Defunct 1974
Headquarters Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Area served
Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia

August Wagner Breweries, Inc. was a well-known regional brewer in Columbus, Ohio. It marketed beers throughout the states of Ohio, Indiana[1] and West Virginia under the Augustiner, Mark V, Robin Hood and Gambrinus brand names, which were once popular products within this region.[2]


Like many other brewers, August Wagner immigrated from Germany in the late 1800s. After honing his craft at various brewers in the state of Ohio, the Gambrinus Brewing and Bottling Company was established in 1906. The company survived Prohibition under the name of "The August Wagner and Sons Products Company, Incorporated." Beer production resumed in 1933 following the repeal of Prohibition and the company was again renamed "The August Wagner and Sons Brewing Company." In 1937 the company was renamed "August Wagner Breweries, Inc."

The brewery was owned by the Wagner family until 1968, when it was purchased by a group of investors from Detroit, Michigan. In 1970 August Wagner Breweries purchased The Little Switzerland Brewing Company of Huntington, West Virginia, formerly known as the Fesenmeier Brewing Company.[3] The Huntington plant was closed in 1971 and production was moved to Columbus; the Columbus brewery closed in January, 1974. The brewery was sold to the Dispatch Printing Company, which later razed the brewery and developed office buildings on the property. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company purchased the brand names and other assets of the company and continued distributing beer under the Mark V, Robin Hood and Gambrinus brands.[4]

Gambrinus, the company's most popular brand, was named after King Gambrinus, the legendary king of Flanders reputed for his mythical brewing abilities. A statue of King Gambrinus graced the front of the brewery for many years and continues to stand in the Brewery District in front of the Dispatch-owned office buildings constructed there. August Wagner is credited as the model for that particular statue.[5]

Comedian Jonathan Winters, then known as Johnny Winters, promoting Gambrinus Beer in the early 1950s for August Wagner Breweries, Inc. on WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hoosier Beer History: 1977 Snapshot" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  2. ^ August Wagner Breweries "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  3. ^ Fesenmeier Brewing Company, Wikipedia (German language version) de:Fesenmeier Brewing Company
  4. ^ "Hoosier Beer History: 1977 Snapshot" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  5. ^ "Brewing Royalty" by Julie Fulton, The Columbus Dispatch, April 20, 2010

External links[edit]