Hoster set to bottle its namesake lager

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Hoster Gold Top to go? Coming right up.

The city’s most famous lager will return in six-packs before the Fourth of July, as the reenergized L. Hoster Brewing Company boosts production and looks to expand its brand.

In addition to releasing Gold Top in bottles, co-owners Daniel Meyers and Victor Ecimovich said they plan to increase the beer’s availability on draft and brew other selections later this year under the Hoster name, which has been bubbling through Columbus in different ways for more than 178 years.

“Over time now, as we’re able to secure more production, we can add some other items,” said Meyers, the man behind the revival of Frostop root beer. “Since Gold Top is the flagship beer, it’s the one we’re bottling first.”

Gold Top hasn’t appeared in bottles since the days of the Hoster Brewing Company, a brewpub that operated at 550 S. High St. from 1989 to 2001. The business was named after (but not connected to) the historic brewery founded in 1836 by German immigrant Louis Hoster.

“That’s terrific, because Gold Top’s a really old brand name,” said Jay Hoster, the great-great-grandson of Louis Hoster. “In the 1910s until Prohibition, it was the major Hoster brand.”

If you're a bit confused about the history of the Hoster name, here's a guide to the last 178 years. If you want to hear the story in person, join Jay Hoster for a presentation at Columbus Brewing Company at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10.

July 4, 1833: Louis Hoster comes through Columbus en route to a German enclave in Brown County, located in southwestern Ohio. He's enthralled with holiday festivities and wants to return.

1836: Hoster establishes the L. Hoster Brewing Company in what becomes known as the Brewery District. Eventually, the brewery grows to include numerous buildings. A bottling plant is built at at 55 W. Livingston Ave., and stables for delivery horses stand in the Worly Building at 503 S. Front St.

1892: Hoster had become a household name throughout Ohio and was the leading Columbus brewery. An article in the May 7, 1892, issue of The Columbus Dispatch says of the beer: “The fundamental principle, evidently, of the L. Hoster Brewing Co. is to make as good a beer as can be procured, regardless of trouble or expense. It is strongly recommended by physicians for family use.”

1901: Annual production at the Hoster brewery reaches 300,000 barrels. In addition to its flagship Gold Top lager, the company produce Wiener (German for “Vienna”), Muenchner (German for “Munich”), a bock and a brown October beer.

Circa 1920: State and national Prohibition cripples the Columbus brewing trade. After attempting to make soda pop and near beer, the Hoster brewery closes.

1989: A brewpub taking the name Hoster Brewing Company opens at 550 S. High St. It serves a new recipe akin to the original Gold Top, as well as seasonal selections. It was named after historic Hoster brewery but had no real connection to it.

April 1991: The Hoster Brewing Company begins to distribute Gold Top on tap at a handful of Columbus bars and restaurants. It would eventually bottle four beers: Rev. Purley Pale Ale, Gold Top Dortmunder Lager, Amber Vienna Lager and 90 Shilling Scottish Ale.

2001: The brewpub closes.

July 2004: Local beverage guru Daniel Meyers purchases the assets of Hoster Brewing Company. He soon arranges to brew Gold Top, through contracts, at breweries in the region. He enlists Victor Ecimovich, a former brewmaster at Hoster Brewing Company, to craft the recipe.

February 2005: Meyers and Ecimovich tap the first keg of reintroduced Gold Top. The beer begins to pop up on tap at small local bars across Central Ohio.

May 2011: Meyers moves his beverage operations into a new 26,000-square-foot facility on the Near East Side in hopes of opening a full-production brewery. Meyers announces to Alive that the company will reintroduce Hoster Gold Top in bottles by the Fourth of July. The company also plans to brew other selections once popular at Hoster Brewing Company.