- By Lisa Powell Staff Writer
The Gem City has had a long love affair with beer.
The thirst-quenching beverage has been part of our history for as far back as the early 1800s. Today the area is flush with new breweries - more than a dozen have opened in the last five years.
Here are five things to know about the areas brewing history:
1. Early adoptor. Col. George Newcom, one of Dayton’s earliest settlers, built a brewery next to his tavern at Main and Water Street (now Monument Street). Newcom Tavern provided a place to rest, meals and drink to weary travelers as early as 1810 according to Dayton History (DAYTON’S OLDEST BUILDING: More on Newcom Tavern).
2. Ale and lager. The first breweries in Dayton, operated by English immigrants, produced ale, a drink that needed little to no refrigeration. German immigrants who arrived in the area in the 1840s and 1850s brought recipes for lager. By the 1880s there was as many as 14 breweries in operation.
3. “Cleaner than water.” Beer helped keep Dayton healthy. The process of boiling water and other ingredients produced a beverage cleaner than water during a period when cholera and other diseases were common.
4. Millions of gallons. By 1900 more than 3 million gallons of beer were brewed locally each year. The Dayton area was perfectly situated for success with lots of water available for production and easy access to the Miami-Erie Canal, railroads and the National Road.
5. From beer to books. The building that currently houses the temporary Dayton Metro Library on Patterson Boulevard was originally the Sachs-Pruden Brewing Company, which produced its first product, Diamond Brand Pale Ale in 1889.