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Until 2014, Canton was the second largest city in Ohio without a brewery. Built with a strong focus on it's fascinating local brewing history, Canton Brewing Co. became the first brewery to open its doors in the city in nearly 75 years. 

Beginning in 1883

Otto Giessen - Bavarian Immigrant

The Canton Brewing was founded in 1883 by Otto Giessen from Bavaria born in 1848.  He was a bookkeeper when he first immigrated to Cleveland in 1865.  He worked at a brewery in Akron and was replaced by Wilhelm Burkhardt when he came to Canton in 1873.

He became partners with John Klopfenstein at Graber Brewery.  Klopfenstein left the partnership a year later and founded the Union Brewing Company.  Giessen operated the Grabber Brewery later renamed Otto Giessen Brewery until it burned down in 1883.

Canton Brewing Company

This is when Giessen built the Canton Brewing Company on Third N. and Walnut, which still stands today. 

He owned it for four years when he sold it to William Rommel.  Otto used the money to buy a Saloon in town and later founded the Canton Buggy and Gear Company.  In 1891 Rommel bought the Union Brewing Company to combine production., and in 1903 the Union building was demolished to make way for the McKinley Monument.

Stark-Tuscarawas Brewing Company

In 1905, $ 3,000,000 was raised by the Stark-Tuscarawas Brewing Company to consolidate the Canton Brewing Company with the Dover Brewing Company, the New Philadelphia Brewing Company, the Massillon Schuster Brewing Company and the Stark Brewing Company into one. 

The new company’s initial president was John Schuster and then in 1906 was taken over by John Rommel, William’s thirty year old son.  The overall capacity of this combined group was in excess of 100,000 barrels per year. 


In 1908 the Rose Law was passed which made Tuscarawas a dry county.  As a result, the New Philadelphia and Dover Breweries were closed and never reopened.  After the onset of Prohibition in 1919, the Stark-Tuscarawas Co. remained in business producing Tuscora, Zest, and Stark non-alcoholic cereal beverages out of the old Stark Brewing Co. building on the South side of town it officially dissolved in 1928.

The Canton Brewing Company on Third Street North was supposedly decommissioned, however, according to Wilbur Webber son of Otto Weber (Canton Brewing Co. last brew master) he brewed and bootlegged beer throughout prohibition for all the local establishments.

Canton Bulldogs

One of these beers known as Cascade Beer named after the Cascade Hop, indigenous to Canton at the time, was the sponsor of Ralph Hay’s Canton Bulldogs the year prior to prohibition.  It undoubtedly was the beer of choice in Ralph’s smoke filled dealership the night of September 17, 1920 when professional football was founded. 

The rest they say is history. 

Present Day

Today, Canton Brewing Company is a split-level 15,000+ square-foot brewpub including: a brewery with a 15-barrel brewing system, a full service restaurant on the main floor, and a speakeasy tap room in the lower level. Our location at 120 3rd Street in Downtown Canton, once McCrory's 5¢ and 10¢, has been revitalized to commemorate the rich history from which Canton Brewing was built. The brickwork, arched windows and doorways, original flooring and lighting are modeled after and indictive of those original breweries, are intended to create a Prohibition-era atmosphere.

At the end of the day, we are a brewpub that strives to make and serve great beers of many different varieties!

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