BREWERY GEMS ARTICLE: 
Pre-Prohibition Steins from West Coast Breweries

Three Olympia Brewing Co. steins

While there was no shortage of breweries in the Pacific Northwest prior to Prohibition, not many of them issued advertising steins. California had four more years of operation than Washington and Oregon, yet their breweries didn’t issue many steins either. Of the examples shown here, and including the variations not shown, they number less than sixty.  However, I hope that response to this article results in additions to the list.

Before beginning this discussion on steins, an explanation of the terminology may be helpful. Through common usage it's understood that a stein has a lid, and a mug does not. However, a stein may have lost its lid or was issued without one - as is often the case, but it's still a stein. I've read learned opinions on this issue and am none the wiser. The Bellingham Bay Brewery gave away mugs for promotions and their 1906 ad referred to them as steins! So as not quibble over semantics, for the purpose of this discussion - they're all steins.

Milwaukee Brg. Co. stein Tacoma, ca.1891With the exception of the steins made by Mettlach it’s difficult to establish age, so the operating years of the breweries, and their promotional campaigns, often gives useful clues. Such is the case with this first example. This 4½" tall stein is ca.1891, from the Milwaukee Brewing Co. of Tacoma (1891-1897). It's the earliest Washington stein in this article, and may be the oldest in the Pacific Northwest.

Pacific Brewing & Malting stein by MettlachThe next stein is from the Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. of Tacoma (1897-1916),  successor to the Milwaukee Brewery mentioned above. This 0.4L, Mettlach stein is marked on the base with the manufacture date of 1895. This indicates that the Mettlachs were not necessarily issued on or near their date of manufacture, since Pacific Brewing & Malting was established two years after this stein was made. It appears that a U.S. agent purchased blank steins (usually form no. 1909) from Mettlach and applied the “printed-under-glaze” (PUG) designs when needed.
Everett Brg. Co. stein by Mettlach

Mettlach also manufactured two steins for the Everett Brewing Company (1904-1915). Their ¼L, PUG, "factory scene" stein's base is dated 1910. The other Mettlach (not shown) was just a larger capacity stein with the same graphics.

Everett Brg. Co. 0.5L stein by Diesinger

The brewery also issued at least three lidded steins inscribed with “Compliments of the Everett Brewing Company.” This 0.5L example has a 2” kick-up bottom¹, and has mold no. 308 on the side and base. This example has a number of elements consistent with those made by the Diesinger factory of Höhr, Germany. The other two I'm aware of include another 0.5L stein, and a smaller example without the kick-up.

 

Seattle Brewing & Malting Mettlach stein 500px

The Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. (SB&M) was established in 1893, and the stein shown here is the earliest of six different steins issued by the brewery. It doesn’t mention “Rainier Beer”- which was yet to become their flagship brand. This 0.4L stein (form #1526) is base marked 1895, and the PUG decoration was applied by the Albert Pick Co. of Chicago. There is also a smaller version of this stein.

1903 Rainier beer stein by DiesingerSB&M's second issue was a ¼L, “Rainier Beer” stein, with one side panel displaying a figure of a waiter holding two bottles. This figure was introduced in their Aug. 1902 advertising, so I’ve dated the stein, ca.1902. Interestingly, the other side panel depicts an iconic German figure of the Munich Child sitting on a Rainier cask and holding the traditional beer mug and radishes. It's an odd choice since Rainier didn't use the Munich Child in any of its advertising. There is one other variation of this Diesinger stein that's also in my collection. 
Rainier "Good Judge" stein by Diesinger
The above stein was soon replaced by another ¼L Diesinger stein that depicted a wigged judge with the phrase, "A good Judge Knows - Rainier.”  This ad campaign was introduced by the brewery in Aug. 1903, and the familiar “Judge” stein, ca.1903, soon followed. There are at least four variations of this stein that I’m aware of, and differences are primarily with the decorative band below the rim. This wigged judge was not used in any other advertising, but the phrase was.

Rainier Beer stein from Honolulu, ca.1906The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) is a fraternal organization that has had a friendly relationship with the breweries, and this "Time to Drink Rainier Beer" stein is a prime example. It was made by the Thuemler Mfg. Co., ca.1906. The brewery provided these presentation steins for Honolulu Elks Lodge leader, Col. C. J. McCarthy (who was to become the 5th Governor of Hawaii). He also owned a saloon in downtown Honolulu.

Seattle Brewing & Malting brewery ca.1907Seattle Brewing & Malting factory scene steinAnother SB&M stein is ca.1907 and is a "factory scene" - albeit a mythical one. This image appeared in a 1907, monthly periodical as a Rainier Beer advertisement. Everything behind the front row of buildings never existed, it was merely artistic license. Since the image of the stein is out of focus, I've included the original ad.

Rainier Beer stein, ca.1908
Another SB&M stein was issued ca.1907, and has often been found in San Francisco, as well as Seattle. This leads me to believe that it was issued, when “Rainier Beer” made serious inroads into the S.F. market following the fire and earthquake of 1906. The base is marked with the numeral 10, which is a capacity mark used by Thuemler Manfacturing Co.


No. Pacific Brewing Co. maroon stein from AstoriaNo. Pacific Brewing Co. blue stein from Astoria
The North Pacific Brewing Co. of Astoria, Oregon (1902-1916) issued these PUG steins in three colors that I know of, blue & maroon (shown), plus green. The steins were issued sometime after 1902, when the North Pacific’s name changed from “Brewery Co.” to “Brewing Co.” The stein was also made by the Thuemler Mfg. Co., with the numeral 10 on the base.

North Pacific also had a Seattle connection, in that the brewery’s founder, John Kopp, was a partner with Alvin Hemrich in 1883, when the two established the Bayview Brewery which would merge with two other breweries ten years later in forming Seattle Brewing & Malting. In 1884, Kopp sold his share and moved to Astoria where he established his own brewery.


Mt. Hood Brewery stein

Of the few Oregon breweries that issued steins, one was Portland's Mt. Hood Brewing Co. (1905-1913). Unfortunately, I don't have any information on this piece as yet.


Aug. Buchler Mettlach stein ca.1896
This Aug. Buchler is a 0.3L stein made by Mettlach ca.1896. August Buchler purchased the Columbia Brewery in The Dalles, in April 1877. Since "Columbia Brewery" is not on the stein, it's believed that it was one of a set intended for Buchler's personal use. Upon receiving them I'm sure he was annoyed that The Dalles was misspelled "The Dallas." In February 1905, Buchler sold the brewery and it was incorporated as the Eastern Oregon Brewing Co.


H. Weinhard stein ca.1918The Henry Weinhard Brewery of Portland (1862-1928) was Oregon’s largest brewery. They issued at least four steins, this one, in light gray, for general distribution in Portland. It only has "H. Weinhard" on the front, which was sufficient information for the local market. However, this stein may have been issued ca.1918, which was during state-wide Prohibition and when the brewery was producing near-beer. The next two steins were for distribution at major expositions, and the last was for a San Francisco restaurant.H. Weinhard stein from Portland, ca.1905
 
The brown, 0.3L stein was believed to have been issued in 1905, for the 4½ month long,  Lewis and Clark Exposition held in Portland. The stein has a base mark 30 and matches form no.30 used by Marzi & Remy, plus the handle is consistent with their steins.

Weinhard's "1915" steinThe next was a distinctive, barrel shaped stein for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The Expo ran from February 1915 to December 1915, and the Expo’s German restaurant, Alt Nurnberg, was able to offer “Weinhard’s Special Exposition Beer” right up to the close of the fair. Oregon’s state-wide prohibition was to take effect on January 1st, 1916, so the Portland brewery just managed to fill the Expo's demand.    Weinhard's Rheingold Beer stein for the Hof Brau Cafe, SF

After the brewery ceased production of full strength beer, their S.F. agency, now doing business as the Henry Weinhard Brewery, contracted for the production of beer and handled its distribution. It’s not known who made their beer but the agency continued supplying "Rheingold Beer" to their accounts, including the Hof-Bräu Café. The agency had this stein made for the Café that promoted the establishment as well as their beer.

New Louvre beer stein for Wieland's Extra Pale
Another San Francisco brewer also issued a stein which promoted both the brewery and the purveyor as shown with this example for the "New Louvre," citing their "Wieland's Extra Pale."
The New louvre Cafe was a restaurant & cafe that opened on O'Farrell St. in 1891 and closed in 1899.



Olympia Beer stein, ca.1898Leopold Schmidt was a prominent, Northwest brewer who issued seven different steins from four of his five breweries. In 1896, he established the Capital Brewing Co. in Tumwater, Wash. This "Olympia Beer" stein, ca.1898, was the most decorative of all his steins². The 0.5L stein was made by Marzie & Remy in Höhr, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia. In 1902 the Capital Brg. Co. changed its name to the Olympia Brewing Co.

This stein was reproduced by the brewery in the ‘70s and '80s, and now the hand painted original is often dismissed as a reproduction.


Three Schmidt steins ca. 1904In Dec. 1902, construction was completed on Schmidt's Bellingham Bay Brewery, and in June 1903, he purchased the Salem Brewery. So, Schmidt’s soon issued a matched set of three steins. The Schmidt family confirmed³ that it was in 1904 that a German firm was commissioned to produce the set commemorating his three breweries. Other collectors suggested that the three steins were ca.1907, but that doesn’t take into account that by then his Acme Brewing Co. was in operation, and would have joined the three others for a set of four. There are no markings on these three steins, but the fine hand-painted work suggests that they were done in Germany. This Olympia stein, like the afore mentioned version, was also reproduced in the ‘70s, buy a number of makers. One of which has "1904" in gold, printed on the base, and is sometimes mistaken for an original.

3-B mug of monk eating3-B mug of monk reading newspaperSchmidt's Bellingham Bay Brewery also gave away inexpensive sets consisting of six pottery steins and a matching pitcher [not shown]. The sets came in gray, brown, and green, and depicted monks engaged in various activities. They were labeled “Compliments of the Bellingham Bay Brewery” in small gold print near the base of each piece. Another series of cheaply made mugs were made of milk glass that was painted to look like pottery with "3-B-Beer" painted in black near the base. The images were usually of monks, but in different poses then those in the pottery sets. There is also a version depicting a stag's head. I'm aware of four variations of these milk glass mugs that were issued as singles rather than sets.

Olympia Beer stein, ca.1905, San FranciscoBy 1904, Leopold Schmidt had established a bottling works and agency for his Olympia Beer in San Francisco. The Olympia Beer Co. issued a stein for the local market, ca.1905. The stein has been attributed to the Thuemler Mfg. Co. due to the mold style and the numeral 10 base mark.

After the 1906 fire and earthquake, and the subsequent loss of many local breweries, Schmidt decided to build a brewery there to better meet the demand for his beer. 

Acme Brewing Co. stein by Mettlach ca.1907Schmidt's Acme Brewing Co. was opened in April of 1907, and that year a 0.3L stein by Mettlach was issued. As with the Pacific Brewing & Malting stein (above) the Acme was decorated and distributed well after its inscribed 1904 manufacture date.  Once Acme Beer had gained acceptance, Schmidt scaled back the distribution of Olympia Beer in the SF Bay Area market in deference to his Acme brand.


Another Acme stein was this pottery example with silver striping, ca.1913, produced by Thos. Maddock’s Sons Co., Trenton, N.J., which had a decidedly modern look.

Acme Beer mini stein

The third Acme is a miniature (4¼" tall) ⅛L stein made for one of Acme’s major SF accounts, the Old Heidelberg Inn on Ellis St. It’s inscribed around the rim: “Acme Beer! Oh! So Good.”



Leopold Schmidt had a fifth brewery in Washington - the Port Townsend Brewing Co., but to my knowledge no stein was ever produced for that brewery.

Olympia Beer stein, ca.1914The last stein Schmidt came out with was a plain, 0.5L, lidded stein, ca.1914. That year they had updated their labels and promotional material with a new style font that appears on this stein, and is familiar even today. Unfortunately, in November, 1914,  they learned that state-wide prohibition had been voted in, effective Jan. 1, 1916, leaving a mere thirteen months to liquidate their stock and either shut down or convert to other products.

 
Washington Pale Lager stein Seattle, ca.1913

This stein with the dollar bill image at first appears to be a novelty piece, but it was issued by Seattle's Washington Brewing Co. (1913-1915). This brewery had operated for the previous eleven years as the Spellmire Brewing Co.

 


The Beer Barons of Washington and Oregon produced most of the western, pre-prohibition steins. Still, I would have expected a good number of steins from the major breweries of California, especially San Francisco.

Three views of Aug. Lang 0.5L factory steinOther than the few mentioned above, the only other S.F. steins that I’m aware of are from August Lang, a bottler of “Fredericksburg Beer” from 1886 to 1911. In 1911 he formed the Aug. Lang Brewing Association, and his flagship brand was Tivoli Lager. The largest of his six steins is 0.5L, 6" tall (to the lip), showing his massive bottling works, ca.1910. The side panels depict bottles of Red Lion Stout and Tivoli Lager Beer. There's a rarely seen variation of this stein that has a brown background and different upper and lower decorative bands.
     
Three sizes of Aug. Lang steins
Lang also gave away five steins with “Tivoli-A-Select-Lager” inscribed below their rims. The 2¾" tall miniature shows Red Riding Hood meeting the Wolf. The 4¼" tall, ⅛L stein is decorated in brown and teal, with a scene of man serenading his girlfriend. The 4⅞" tall, ¼L stein shows a tavern scene, and is done in cobalt and brown. This stein was made in Germany by J.W. Remy⁴.


Tivoli Lager 0.4L stein , Aug. Lang S.F. Tivoli stein with mounted huntsmanAnother ¼L stein at a slightly shorter 4¾" is this ivory colored example with a cobalt background and accents in brown, depicting a hunter with his dog. A matching stein depicts a horseman and his dogs in hot pursuit of a stag. All of Lang's steins were made in Germany, and it's not unusual to find them missing their lids, especially if they were used for drinking. The lids just got in the way and weren’t very sturdy to begin with.


San Diego Brewing Co. salt glase steinLos Angeles brewing Co. salt glaze stein
Southern California had a number of breweries, and the only two steins from that area that I’m aware of are both salt glaze, "Flemish Stone Ware" steins with cobalt coloring, made by Whites Pottery of Utica, NY. One example is from the San Diego Brewing Co. (1896-1907) and the other, with the eagle logo, is from the Los Angeles Brewing Co. (1897-1920).
 

Los Angeles Brewing Co. Mettlach beer jugsWhile they aren’t steins, these two Los Angeles Brewing Co. beer jugs by Mettlach, fall into this category of collecting. The date marking on both pieces is 1903. The numbered jug on the left was  purportedly issued to the brewery workers to draw their allotments of beer, which they consumed during the work day. The larger jug on the right, sometimes called a growler, was issued to saloons for take out, much like the growlers of today and would have required a deposit.
The tops of lids are marked:  “This jug is not for sale, it is the property of the Los Angeles Brewing Co.  'Kuehnrich'  Phone East 82. U.S. Patent No. 572257.” Kuenrich refers to the president of the corporation, Paul Max Kuehnrich.


The topic of this piece is West Coast brewery steins. However, this stein comes from Spokane, an eastern Washington city located in Galland-Burke Brewing Co. stein by Mettlachwhat’s known as the ”Inland Empire” - nowhere near the West Coast - but I couldn’t bear to leave it out.

This stein came from the Galland-Burke Brewing Co. (1892-1902). It was made by Mettlach and has a date mark of 1896 on the base. I've been told of a variation of this stein with slightly different coloring, but have yet to confirm that.



While slightly off the subject of brewery steins, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on some of the interesting steins issued by the beer purveyors. The Hof-Bräu Café and New Louvre steins (above) were both examples of brewery/purveyor steins. But there were others that did not promote a specific brand of beer.

Hotel Butler/Anheuser-Busch stein by mettlach
This stein from Seattle's Hotel Butler, however, does promote a specific brewery - Anheuser-Busch. This ½L stein, by Mettlach (ca.1896) displays the famous Anheuser-Busch logo between, "Hotel Butler" and the proprietors' sur names, "Hamm & Schmitz." Dietrich Hamm and Ferdinand Schmitz, established the hotel in 1894.
  Hotel Butler stein by Mettlach - beer delivery

This "Hotel Butler" stein, by Mettlach (ca.1901), does not promote a specific brand or brewery, but rather promotes beer consumption in general. It depicts a delivery boy packing a keg of Pilsner beer - with invoice in hand. The partners sold the hotel in 1903.
 

Hotel Savoy beer steinAnother Seattle hotel issued a number of steins, one of which just illustrates the grandeur of the establishment. This was the Hotel Savoy which was built in 1906 by Edward F. Sweeney, who had just sold his major interest in the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company.

Hotel Savoy steins from Roseville Pottery - ..tion seriesSweeney also used this series of steins, attributed to Roseville Pottery, but they bear no Roseville marks. The set consists of twelve steins, and possibly more, each with a different word ending in "..tion" - specifically:  Anticipation, Acceleration, Celebration, Exasperation, Expectation, Inspiration, Limitation, Lubrication, Meditation, Recreation, Renunciation, and Vacation. All had different images of folks enjoying beer - in keeping with the key word. I don't believe the Savoy used the complete set, but I can't be sure.
 

Goetz & Baer - Mettlach stein from SpokaneThis stein comes from a Spokane hotel, built in 1894 by Jacob Goetz (aka "Dutch Jake") and Harry F. Baer. This 0.4L Mettlach stein (ca.1897) merely shows the proprietors' sur names, city, and state, with no indication that it's from their opulent Coeur d'Alene Hotel, which was also home to a theatre, a dance hall, and Turkish bath. However, the main attraction was the large saloon with multiple bars, and lunch counters, plus gambling activities such as Keno, Roulette, Faro and Stud Poker.

There is also a smaller, 0.2L version of this Goetz & Baer stein.
 

The last stein is still a mystery. It merely gives the initials of the proprietors (?) on an image of a tamale (?) and the establishment's location. In addition to the one shown here there's another example in dark blue.

B&M stein from SpokaneB&M Tamale Grotto of Spokane, 1916 adIt has been suggested that it's from Spokane Brewing & Malting, but if so, I'm baffled by the image.

UPDATE: Scott Frischer has provided the answer to this mystery. It's not from a brewery, and that is a tamale. The stein was issued by the B&M Tamale Grotto of Seattle - with a branch in Spokane. They operated from 1909 to about 1925.


 

To the stein collecting community, most of these examples are not highly prized, nor particularly valuable. However, that's not true for collectors of Western breweriana. To this group, many of these steins are of great interest and represent a real challenge to obtain.

Not all of these steins are in my collection, so if you have one you're parting with - please let me know.

 

FOOTNOTES:

¹  The 0.5L Everett stein was made in Germany by Eckhardt & Engler. The scene of the women listening to the guitar player (form no. 361) is on pg. 11, and the kick-up base (form no. 520) appears on pg. 12 of their catalog No.1.

²  The tall, pre-prohibition, Olympia Beer stein (form no.1589) is shown in Marzi & Remy's catalog No.1, on pg. 107. The translation of the two sayings on the sides of the stein is: "Don't fear and save where you could - Drink instead when it tastes good!"

³   In a letter from the Olympia Brewing Company, dated Dec. 30, 1972,  Trueman Leopold Schmidt, vice-president of the company and grand-son of the founder, confirmed that the stein was made in Germany in 1904.

⁴  The ¼L Tivoli stein with the tavern scene (form no. 615) is shown on pg. 34 of the J.W. Remy catalog.

⁵   This was referred to as a kannen mit patentverschluss which translates to: "a jug (or Flagon) with patented lock." The U.S. patent 572257 was issued on Dec. 1, 1896.

 

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STEINS FOR SALE:
        
A number of these Pre-Prohibition steins are sale - go to: STEINS

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

  • Thank you to Dr. Tom Jacobs for the image of his San Diego Brewing stein.

  • To Mark Morehead for the 1918 "H. Weinhard" stein.

  • To the "Prosit" magazine for the image of the New Louvre stein that appeared in the Sept 2010 issue.

  • To Michael Wood for his translation of the saying on the tall Olympia stein.

  • And to Marc Geyer (Lynn Geyer's Auctions) for the North Pacific Brewing stein in red.

 

For any comments, additions, or corrections -
or for brewery collectibles you wish to sell - please
contact me:
 
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