Brewed in the Pacific Northwest: a history of beer-making in Oregon and WashingtonWorldCat•LibraryThing•Google Books•BookFinder
Read 21 July – 8 August 2013
This book, published in 1991, purports to list all of the licensed breweries in Oregon and Washington from the 1st in 1852 (Portland) to “the present” of 1991. They list 126 breweries in Oregon and 138 in Washington. But I do not know if those numbers take into account the microbreweries of the recent present which are listed in ch. 6, which includes 20 for Oregon and 15 for Washington. There they are all listed alphabetically by name and separated by Oregon and then Washington, unlike the ones in ch. 3 and 4 where the cities are listed alphabetically within their respective states.
The book is more than a simple listing of breweries, though. There are two introductory chapters on the history of beer and on the brewing process and requirements. There is an “interlude” chapter on Prohibition and another on saloons. There is a chapter which focuses solely on “The Big Three”: “Henry Weinhard of Blitz-Weinhard; Andrew Hemrich of Rainier; and Leopold Schmidt of Olympia” (129). The final chapter focuses on the rise of the microbreweries, although it is primarily a listing.
The listings are not simply a name within a city but contain a smattering of data on each brewery, if any was found. They range from the short, through the medium, to the more complete:
Coaledo: “This short-lived coal mining community in the Coos Bay area had a brewery from 1874 to 1875 that was run by Henry Tolle” (40).
Brownsville: “Mr. B. Clomer held a brewery license in this Linn County town in 1878 and 1879, but there is no record that a brewery was built or that any beer was actually made. Perhaps he couldn’t brew up enough support or financing to get going” (36).
Coos Bay (Marshfield, at the time): includes a lengthy listing, compared to the above two, listing several changes of hands of a brewery that existed from 1868 to 1912, along with a very short note about two other breweries (41).
The book includes lots of black & white photos depicting breweries, bottles, advertisements of assorted kinds, and other breweriana.
If you are interested in a bit of history on beer making in Oregon and Washington, with what purports to be a complete listing of licensed breweries up until 1991, then this book is for you.
- Foreword vii
- 1 The Universal Beverage 11
- 2 Copper Kettles and Wooden Barrels 16
- 3 Brewed in Oregon 30
- Interlude One: The Infamous 18th Amendment 76
- 4 Brewed in Washington 82
- 5 Henry, Andrew, and Leopold: The Big Three 129
- Interlude Two: “Belly Up to the Bar, Boys”: The Saloons 164
- 6 In the Old Stye: The Microbreweries 170
- Glossary 191
- Source Notes 195
- Bibliography 197
- Index 203
First brewery established in Portland in 1852 (vii).
1: The Universal Beverage
Clearly pop history as no citations for things like: “… and an Assyrian clay tablet relates that beer was taken aboard Noah’s Ark” (11). While I call this “pop history” it is not meant as a denigration. It only means that the book was intended to be sold to people who would be put off by the apparatus of scholarly works. This seems to be a very well researched work that the authors claim took three years to research, and they comment on the sources used in both the foreword and in the source notes [see below]. There is also a bibliography that includes a list of books, newspapers and periodicals.
§ Beer in North America
1st recorded commercial brewery – “established in 1612 by a Dutchman and a Dane, Block and Christiansen, in New Amsterdam (New York).” (13)
§ The Advent of Lager Beer
“Lager beer revolutionized the American brewing industry by offering a lively foaming beer that was more palatable to most people than were the old-style beers.” (15)
2: Copper Kettles and Wooden Barrels
“Commercial brewing in the Pacific Northwest began in 1852, when a German immigrant named Henry Saxer established his Liberty Brewery at the new village called Portland in the Oregon Territory. He missed being the first brewer on the Pacific Coast by three years; that honor went to San Francisco brewer Adam Schuppert in 1849.” (16)
- #2 1854 – Nicholas Delin in Steilacoom
- #3 1855 – Emil Meyer in Walla Walla
- #4 1856 – John Muench in Fort Vancouver
- #5 1856 – J. J. Holman in Jacksonville
- #6 1858 – Martin Schmeig in Steilacoom
- #7 1859 – “Henry Weinhard bought the Muench brewery across the Columbia River from the city that would bring him fame.” (16)
Local hops and barley cultivation from around 1865. Shipped from San Francisco previously (16-17).
Book covers 138 breweries in Washington and 126 in Oregon (19 and earlier). [But see above count as I don’t know if this number reflects the microbreweries in ch. 6.]
§ How the Brewer Made His Beer
§ Pails, Kegs, and Bottles
Picture on p. 23 of a few of the 333 types of beer bottle stoppers patented in the US between 1880 and 1890. [333 in a decade!]
§ The Never-Ending Need for Ice, Ice, Ice!
§ Tall Windows and Stately Walls: Brewery Architecture
3: Brewed in Oregon
“Oregon has had 126 licensed breweries from 1852 to the present .” (30)
This was across 53 cities, if not including the microbreweries from ch. 6.
Interlude One: The Infamous 18th Amendment
“By the time the 18th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, effective January 16, 1920, Oregon and Washington had already been “dry” for four years by popular vote.” (76)
“Local option law” put in effect in Oregon in 1904 and in Washington in 1909, and some counties went dry (77).
“Home rule” laws made even more confusing – cities could make their own decision and be opposite of their county (77).
Nov 3, 1914 the “drys” won in both OR and WA “one chief factor in that surprising outcome was the vote of women, who had gained the voting rights two years before. It is estimated that three out of four of every women who voted chose prohibition” (78).
“Appropriate amendments were drafted into the states’ constitutions, and prohibition arrived in Oregon and Washington on January 1, 1916” (78).
I find that many people in the Pacific Northwest seem to be either unaware of this or perhaps they simply ignore it. But I fail to see how one can discuss Prohibition in the PNW and ignore this. Oregon and Washington were fully dry four years before national Prohibition and parts of each were dry for sixteen and eleven years, respectively. I had known about the start of Prohibition in 1916 for Oregon but I did not know about Washington or the earlier period of ridiculous complexity surrounding alcohol in Oregon and Washington until reading this book.
§ National Prohibition
4 Brewed in Washington
138 breweries, “since 1854, when Nicholas Delin first started making beer in Steilacoom. Two of the original breweries are still in operation, and a number of new smaller ones are producing beer for a loyal following” (82).
- Spokane – “… many breweries over the years, all of them now gone, except for two recent microbreweries that carry on the tradition” (104).
- Vancouver – 1935, five men formed Great Western Malting Co.; three well-known brewers – Arnold Blitz of Blitz-Weinhard, Peter Schmidt of Olympia Brewing, Emil Sicks of Sicks’ Rainier Brewing Co., and Bill Einzig, manager; Morgan Kellett, operator. (123)
This was also across 53 cities, if not including the microbreweries from ch. 6.
5 Henry, Andrew, and Leopold: The Big Three
“Three of these historic beer plants, established long ago by their pioneer founders, are with us still, and they have grown to become the largest brewing operations in the Pacific Northwest, and among the largest in the country. We see their names daily as familiar memorials to the three old-time German brewers who created them: Henry Weinhard of Blitz-Weinhard; Andrew Hemrich of Rainier; and Leopold Schmidt of Olympia” (129).
§ Henry Weinhard and the Blitz-Weinhard Story
“In 1863 Henry Weinhard bought property away from the center of town, with only a single road into the place, and here he built his new brewery. It was on the same site where Blitz-Weinhard stands today. He called his new enterprise the City Brewery, …” (133).
In 1882 he replaced the wooden buildings with “what Oregon historian H. K. Hines called ‘an immense pile of brick, which covers the entire block,’ at what is now 12th and West Burnside.” It went from 11th to 13th St; the bottling plant was across the street on Couch St; stables for beer-wagon horses on 13th; large warehouse at steamboat docks (134).
Great philanthropist (134-6).
1890 – Output of 40k barrels/yr. Pacific Coast, Western states and territories, Portland (of course) and China, Japan, the Philippines, and Siberia (136).
Good employer (136-7).
Survived Prohibition by making soft drinks, fruit drinks, syrups, flavorings, toppings, and a malt extract for cooking (138).
Merged with the Portland Brewing Company of Arnold Blitz in late 1927 to become Blitz-Weinhard (138-9).
“After 1953, when Sicks’ Brewing Co. closed its Salem plant, Blitz-Weinhard was the only brewery in Oregon” (140).
“In 1977 Blitz-Weinhard was America’s fifteenth-oldest brewery. But the year 1979 marked the end to one of the last independent breweries. On January 31 of that year the Oregonian announced the sale of Blitz-Weinhard to Milwaukee’s oldest brewery, the Pabst Brewing Company, founded in 1844. …” (141).
Bought by G. Heileman Brewing of La Crosse, WI in 1983, which was bought by an Australian company, Bond Corp. Holdings, Ltd. in 1988 (141).
“Now” employs 350 people and brews 1.2M barrels/year (141).
§ Andrew Hemrich and His “Rainier Beer”
“The site at 3100 Airport Way South [was Ninth Ave. S.] is now the home of the modern Rainier Brewing Company” (photo caption, 144).
Sold the Rainier label to a San Francisco brewery when state Prohibition came in 1916 (146/147).
Sicks’ Seattle Brewing & Malting Co had bought back the Rainier label in 1938 (149).
Since the mid-50s the majority stockholder was Molson Breweries, Ltd. Sold by Molson to G. Heileman in 1977. Heileman bought by Australian company [see B-W above] in 1987 (150).
“Rainier Brewing Co. employs about 550 people, …” (150).
“The former pre-Prohibition Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. buildings in Georgetown at 6004 Airport Way South are worth a look too. (151). [Although I seriously doubt they still stand empty today.]
§ Leopold Schmidt of Olympia—”It’s the Water”
Interlude Two: “Belly Up to the Bar, Boys”: The Saloons
“Hollywood Westerns notwithstanding, much more beer than whiskey was downed in saloons. Except for certain arid regions of the Southwest, where it was impractical to import beer from distant breweries, kegs and bottles of ice-cooled beer were an integral part of the barroom inventory” (164).
“Before Prohibition, the saloon was strictly a male stronghold” (165).
§ The Tradition of the “Free Lunch”
Had to buy a beer first; foods were usually spicy and salty to bring on thirst (168).
6 In the Old Style: The Microbreweries
“These are the present Pacific Northwest microbreweries. Any or all are worth a visit.” (171).
Keep in mind that these are supposedly current up until some point in 1991. I would be interested if anyone knew of any missing breweries. Also, there is more information on each of these in the book.
- Bay Front Brewery & Public House – Newport; Opened July 1989 – companion to Rogue Brewery in Ashland
- Bridgeport Brewing Company – Portland; 1984, Oregon’s oldest operating micro (171)
- Cornelius Pass Roadhouse – Hillsboro; 1986, a McMenamin brewery (172)
- Deschutes Brewery & Public House – Bend; 1988
- Fulton Pub & Brewery – Portland; May 1988, a McMenamin brewery (173)
- Highland Pub & Brewery – Gresham; June 1988, a McMenamin brewery
- High Street Brewery & Cafe – Eugene; Nov 1988, a McMenamin brewery (174)
- Hillsdale Brewery & Public House – Portland; First in the McMenamin chain; “As of April 1990, the McMenamins have opened seven other brewpubs in Oregon” (174).
- Hood River Brewing Company – Hood River; fall 1988 (174-5)
- Lighthouse BrewPub – Lincoln City; July 1986, a McMenamin brewery (175)
- McMenamins – Beaverton; April 1990, a McMenamin brewery (176)
- Oregon Trail Brewery – Corvallis; July 1987; Willamette Valley’s oldest brewery (176)
- The Pizza Deli & Brewery – Cave Junction; July 1990
- Portland Brewing Company – Portland; Jan 1986 (177)
- Roger’s Zoo – North Bend; Jan 1987 (178)
- Rogue Brewery & Public House – Ashland; 1988
- Steelhead Brewery – Eugene; Jan 1991 (179)
- Thompson’s Brewery & Public House – Salem; Jan 1990, a McMenamin brewery (180)
- Widmer Brewing Company – Portland; 1985
- Widmer Brewing Company – Portland; ” expanded in August 1990 to the second location” (180)
- Big Time Brewing Company – Seattle; 1 Dec 1988 (181)
- Duwamps Cafe & Seattle Brewing Company – Seattle; Nov 1990
- Fort Spokane Brewery – Spokane; July 1989 (182)
- Hale’s Ales – Spokane; “First established in Colville in the winter of 1983 …. The brewery was moved to Spokane in September 1991” (182).
- Hale’s Ales – Kirkland; 2nd brewery, early 1987 (182-3)
- Hart Brewing – Kalama; 1984 (Pyramid( (183)
- Maritime Pacific Brewing Company – Seattle; Sep 1990 (184)
- Noggins Brewery and Restaurant – Seattle; 20 Oct 1988
- The Pacific Northwest Brewing Company – Seattle; May 1989 (184-5)
- Pike Place Brewery – Seattle; Oct 1989 (185)
- Redhook Ale Brewery – Seattle; 1982 (185-6)
- Roslyn Brewing Company – Roslyn; May 1990 (186)
- Thomas Kemper Brewery – Poulsbo; Jan 1985 (187)
- Yakima Brewing & Malting Company – Yakima; July 1982 (188)
Some general books on beer were helpful (195).
“The information on specific breweries came chiefly from primary sources, such as: historical records of the United States Brewers’ Association; contemporary newspaper accounts; business directories; county and state records; and the myriad of letters, documents, reminiscences, and advertisements concerning old-time local breweries in the archives of the 54 county and regional historical societies” (195).
State and local histories and profiles of noteworthy residents (195).
This book is definitely worth a look. After reading a hardback copy that I got from OSU Valley Library (TP 573 .U5 M45 1991) I purchased a used paperback copy (ISBN: 0940242532).