The buildings are now
primarily associated with Tully’s Coffee and previously with Rainier Beer, but
have a much longer history. They were originally part of the Bayview Brewing
Company, founded during the later part of the 19th Century.
According to some sources, the Bayview Brewing Company was incorporated in
1891. According to the same sources, the basis for this brewery was, in fact, a
succession of breweries, previously created by brewer Andrew Hemrich with other
partners. These included Hemrich and Company, created between 1884 and 1885 and
an earlier steam brewery, created by Andrew Hemrich and John Kopp in 1883.
Other sources simply claim that the Bayview Brewing Company was created as
early as 1883.
Sources are fairly clear
that in 1893, the Bayview Brewing Company joined with the Clausen-Sweeney
Brewing Company founded by John Clausen and Edward Sweeney in Georgetown, as
well as with the Albert Braun Brewing Company, to become the Seattle Brewing
and Malting Company. Operations continued at the first two facilities,
while the former Braun headquarters eventually closed. The Seattle Brewing and
Malting Company’s most popular product was “Rainier.” By 1904, the company was
the largest brewery, west of the Mississippi. By 1913, after consolidation of
the brewing operation at the Georgetown plant, the Bayview site became a
Under Prohibition, the sale
of alcoholic beverages was outlawed in Washington State in early 1916. The ban
was only lifted with the end of Prohibition in 1933. In 1934, Fritz Sick
and his son Emil bought the abandoned buildings of the former Bayview plant and
founded the Century Brewing Company. In 1935, they also obtained the rights to
the Rainier brand. Major production resumed at the former Bayview Brewing plant.
A giant neon “R,” which rotated, was attached to one of the building roofs. It
became a notable symbol of the plant. In 1944, the company became known as
Sick’s Seattle Brewing and Malting Company. This name endured until 1957, when
it was changed to Sick’s Rainier Brewing Company, which lasted until 1970. In
1970, the company was renamed the Rainier Brewing Company. In 1977, G.
Heilemann Brewing Company of Illinois bought the company. In 1996, Stroh
Brewery of Detroit bought the company, but then ceased its involvement in beer
production in 1999. As a result, production of Rainier beer ceased and this
The Benaroya Foundation
bought the complex shortly thereafter. In 2000, Tully’s Coffee leased it. In
2003, the Rainier Commons group purchased the complex. By 2008, while Tully’s
had set up headquarters in a few of the buildings, prominently located along
Airport Way South, other buildings were remodeled to accommodate artists’
studios, as well as other commercial/artistic tenants, such as recording
Greg Lange, “Saloons
close on the eve of Prohibition in Washington state on December 31, 1915,”
Essay 5604, HistoryLink, website at http://www.historylink.org/, accessed July 5,
Blecha, “Rainier Beer -- Seattle's Iconic Brewery,” Essay 9130, HistoryLink,
August 26, 2009, HistoryLink, website at http://www.historylink.org/,
accessed July 5, 2010.
Rev. H. K.
Hines, D. D., “Andrew Hemrich,” An Illustrated History of the State of
Washington, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1893, p 485-486.
Clinton A. Snowden, “Andrew Hemrich,” History
of Washington, The Rise and Progress of An American State,
New York: The Century History Company, 1911, p 129-131.
“Now and Then, Birth of the Brews,” Seattle Times, Pacific Magazine,
January 17, 1988, p 22.
Paul Dorpat, “Now and Then – Rainier
Brewery (Seattle), HistoryLink.org Essay 3001, database available at www.historylink.org , retrieved November 26, 2008.
Cynthia Rose, “Lift a Glass: A Seattle landmark bites the
dust,” Crosscut, available at http://crosscut.com/2008/01/20/history/10854/, retrieved November 26, 2008.
Andersen, “Breitung & Buchinger,” in Shaping Seattle Architecture, Jeffrey
Karl Ochsner, Editor, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press in
association with the American Institute of Architects, Seattle Chapter,
Brewing Company (1883-1919),” website at http://brewerygems.com/bayview.htm.