Bay View Brewing Company
1880s photo of the Bay
Andrew Hemrich and partner John Kopp established a
small brewing operation that would eventually become the Rainier
Brewery. Their firm operated under the name of Kopp & Hemrich, and was
located south of downtown Seattle. The brewery was at the base of Beacon
Hill, on the corner of 9th Avenue and Hanford Street, and near a spring
of pure water.
Andrew met John Kopp in Bozeman, MT were he had been employed by a small
brewery. Kopp had been working in his brother-in-law's bakery.
The two men decided that their were more opportunities to be had on the
The "bay view" referred to their vantage of Elliott Bay, which would
eventually be obscured by new building on filled tide lands. When the plant
began operation, the waters of Duwamish delta still lapped the slopes of
Beacon Hill, and the narrow-gauge Grant Street Railway rode above the tide
flats on a trestle along the future route of Airport Way.
Their first year
of business showed an output of 2,658 barrels, of lager beer (actually Steam beer). In 1884 Andrew's father, John
left Alma, WI and joined the firm. By February of 1884, the enterprise
was doing business as Hemrich & Company's "Bay View Brewery."
1885 City Directory ad
The following year (1885) Andrew's
brother-in-law, Frederick Kirschner and
sister, Emma arrived in Seattle. John, Sr. and Frederick then purchased
Kopp's share. The company officers were now Andrew as president, Frederick as
secretary, and John, Sr. as treasurer. Note the misspelling of Hemrich in
the 1885 ad (above) for Bay View Lager.
Major improvements were undertaken, and in 1887
a new plant was built (see photo below), and the production of
real lager beer was introduced. The Bay View Brewery was also the first to
introduce bottled lager beer on the Puget Sound. They bottled in quart, pint, and
half-pint size bottles. The bottles were made in Germany and are a
beautiful, green color.
With the 1887 plant expansion, Bay View now had the capacity to export their
product outside the local area.
Andrew Hemrich was a provisional trustee in the newly reorganized Victoria
Brewing & Ice Co. in Victoria, B. C. He provided his brother, Alvin,
a position with the brewery in 1891, and Alvin stayed until a new plant was
built in 1893. With steamer traffic flowing steadily between Victoria and
Seattle, Andrew secured the services of an agent in Victoria, B.C. to bottle
and distribute their "Export Beer" and "Pale Lager." In June of 1891 they
contracted with Close & Johnson, who had a bottling works and cold storage
plant on Esquilmalt road to act as sole agents for their beer. Initially
they only bottled 90 gallons, or 360 quarts per day. The label shown (below)
would have been one that was used on the bottles (above right). The
arrangement with Close & Johnson was terminated when the Bay
View Brewery added their own bottling works in 1892.
Export Beer label ca.1891
On 11 January of 1893,
Bay View joined with the breweries of
Albert Braun and
Claussen-Sweeney to form a new association - the
Seattle Brewing & Malting Company. The brand name
chosen for the company's flag-ship beer was "Rainier." The Bay View plant
continued to operate, and in 1906 added a bottling shop and
Brewing ceased in August of 1913, with all production shifted to the
Sweeney plant in Georgetown, but the bottling works continued operating. Then
state-wide Prohibition was voted in, to take effect on Jan. 1, 1916, so the
company made plans to shift operations to San Francisco.
They made the move to California in the belief that national Prohibition
would not be approved, but they were wrong. Prohibition bacome the
law of the land on Jan. 16, 1920. The Hemrich family knew that there was no
hope of re-opening the Bay View plant any time soon, plus they still owned
the huge Georgetown plant and a new plant in San Francisco. So, they decided
to cut their losses and sell the Bay View Brewery.
With little value as a brewery they hoped to find a buyer who could put the
plant to other uses. They found such a buyer in Robert Bruce Montague and
partner, Manley Harshman, and in Nov. of 1918 the plant was sold. With
milling experience gained in the Far East, the two new owners re-equipped
the plant for the milling of flour and feed grain. In February of 1919, the
plant went online as the Bayview Milling Company. Harshman was soon bought
out, leaving Montague as sole proprietor. Unfortunately, Montague died in
1927, but his widow continued to run the enterprise.
The Bayview Milling
Co. operated until 18 June, 1933, when Emil Sick
took out a lease on the plant from Montague's widow and re-opened the
old Bay View Brewery as the
It would later be known as the Rainier Brewery.
showing the Grant St. bridge and trolley
Bay View Breweriana ~ For Sale
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