New Year’s Day PR, Pt. 1: Cincy Enquirer, and bringing Little Kings home

Little Kings in The Cincinnati Enquirer - 1.1.09

Greg Hardman, the Cincinnati beer baron dedicated to returning the legacy of Cincinnati’s brewing heritage to its former national glory, leaned back at his desk.

Profiled in The Cincinnati Enquirer on New Year’s Day, 2009, Hardman had just added Cincinnati beer legend Little Kings Cream Ale to his stable of craft beers, under the banner of The Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. (

Little Kings

“We finally did it. We have finally consolidated ownership of some of Cincinnati’s historic beer brands under a single, local owner,” said Hardman, CEO of Christian Moerlein. The deal had closed two days before, on Dec. 30, 2008.

With a flourish of Hardman’s signature, a flurry of faxes and legal papers, Hardman added one of the biggest names in the long, storied line of Cincinnati brewing brands with the purchase of Little Kings Cream Ale.

Little Kings has enjoyed almost a cult attraction amongst fans for years with its green-bottled, seven-ounce frame, the brand that helped propel Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. to be one of the greatest regional brewers of its time. 

During its heyday, Hudepohl-Schoenling was a top 10 brewer nationwide. With a recent resurgence of retro-brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Hudepohl-Schoenling brands are now positioned for rapid growth in the marketplace.

Hardman, a graduate from Ohio University, has enjoyed a lengthy career in the beverage industry, and is a man on a mission: to bring back the Cincinnati beer brands that put the Queen City on the map more than a century ago.

Hardman cut his teeth with 25 years of industry experience and success, starting with a beer distributor in Athens after graduating from OU, then proceeding to 18 years of success with the Warsteiner Importers Agency

After Warsteiner, Hardman engineered the takeoff of one of the hottest-selling craft beer brands in the nation with Christian Moerlein, coupled with the recent re-release of Hudy Delight.

Here’s the online press release for the Little Kings announcement that led to the centerpiece feature in The Enquirer:

Hardman’s professional passion turned a new corner in March 2004 when he left Warsteiner and bought Christian Moerlein and the right of first-refusal for the legendary Hudepohl-Schoenling beers.

Two years later, he bought Hudepohl 14K, Hudy Delight and Burger. The Little Kings acquisition ends 2008 with a bang and closes the loop with the corralling of the Hudepohl-Schoenling brands, coming full-circle back into Hardman’s portfolio.

Little Kings owner Hardman on Fox19

Underneath the Christian Moerlein Brewing umbrella, and in conjunction with the Little Kings purchase, Hardman announced plans to establish a Moerlein Lagers & Ales Craft Brand Division, which will only handle the Moerlein hand-crafted brands of beer. A separate Hudepohl-Schoenling division will handle Little Kings and Hudepohl.

Here’s the original press release on the Little Kings acquisition:

Little Kings comes home - press release by

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