Monday, February 01, 2010

Stein of the Day


This half-liter lidded stein is from the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, Wash.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Leopold Schmidt, a German immigrant from Montana founded The Capital Brewing Company at Tumwater Falls on the Deschutes River in the town of Tumwater, near the south end of Puget Sound. He built a four-story wooden brewhouse, a five-story cellar building, a one-story ice factory powered by the lower falls, and a bottling and keg plant and in 1896, began brewing and selling Olympia Beer. In 1902, the firm became Olympia Brewing Company and chose the slogan "It's the Water" to promote its flagship product. Statewide Prohibition, which began in January 1916, four years before National Prohibition, ended beer making operations. After Prohibition ended, a new Olympia Brewery was erected just upstream from the original, and Olympia beer went back on sale in 1934.[1]

Olympia Beer was a very popular regional brand in the Pacific Northwest for half of a century. It eventually expanded nationwide, repositioned as a low-price lager. During the 1970s, Olympia acquired Hamm's and Lone Star. Olympia Brewing also produced Buckhorn Beer,[2] which had previously been a product of the Lone Star Brewing Company.[3] The Schmidt family, which owned and operated the brewery and company, elected to sell the company in 1982. Olympia was subsequently purchased by Pabst in 1983.

As with many other regional breweries, ownership of this brewery eventually passed through several corporations including Pabst, G. Heileman, and Stroh's, until the brewery was eventually purchased by SABMiller. For a time, the Olympia brewery took over the brewing of other Pacific Northwest brands as their original breweries were closed one by one, including the Lucky Lager brewery in Vancouver, Washington, the Henry Weinhard's brewery in Portland, Oregon, and the Rainier Beer brewery in Seattle, Washington. Miller closed the Olympia brewery on July 1, 2003 citing the unprofitability of such a small brewery. However, beer marketed under the Olympia Beer name continues to be manufactured by SABMiller at a plant in Irwindale, California.


Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock drinks an Olympia beer in The Graduate (1967). Paul Newman drinks an Oly in the movie, Sometimes a Great Notion (1970). A neon sign advertising Olympia beer can be seen in the window of the liquor store in American Graffiti (1973). Clint Eastwood promoted the brand in several popular films, including Magnum Force (1973), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), The Eiger Sanction (1975), Every Which Way but Loose (1978) (in which his orangutan Clyde also indulges), and Any Which Way You Can (1980). John Denver drinks an Olympia in "Oh, God!" (1977). Signage and cans being consumed are also easily visible in The China Syndrome (1979). The brand was also featured in the movie Friday the 13th Part III (1982). Josh Brolin's George W. Bush drinks Olympia beer in W. (2008).

No comments: