Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Oly - Salem Connection, 1903

In addition to the Weinhard brand, the other active major brewing legacy is the Oly stubby. Interestingly, both involve Full Sail in Hood River.

But in another history, Salem could have had at least one of them!

Most readers of CT will already know the story behind Session, Full Sail, and the mold for the Oly Stubby. If not, here's the Oly stubby. Same mold!

There's a campaign - I don't know how active - to bring back the Oly stubby. As cool as that would be, I like what Full Sail's doing with it even better. It's a modernized reinterpretation, neither a slavish reproduction in packaging nor insipid industrial lager inside. It's the best kind of homage: With a supremely civilized tip of the cap, it suavely moves forward with change.

But it turns out that Salem has a long history with Oly, and it's too bad Session or something like it couldn't have been brewed here.

On June 5th, 1903, the Capital Journal announced that Margaret M. Beck (the widow, I believe, of Seraphin Beck) had sold the Capital Brewery to Stanislaus Zynda for $75,000 the previous day. Beck had purchased the brewery for $30,000 "a few years ago," so she turned a nice little profit. Zynda had been manager of the Whatcom Brewery in Washington. The paper noted that the "young Salem attorney," Carey Martin, had brokered the deal.

A month later, on July 7th, 1903, L.F. Schmidt of Olympia announced he had purchased the Capital Brewery and incorporated the Salem Brewing Association.

New Corporation Takes the Place of the Old Capital City Brewery


The Salem Brewing Association, in corporated with a capital stock of $60,000, succeeds the old Capital Brewery of this city. The new company is composed of L.F. Schmidt, president; Stanislaus Zynda, secretary and manager; and E. Eckerlin of Salem, treasurer.

This company is strong financially, its officers are experienced men in the brewing business, and with the enterprising management and up-to-date methods which they will ensure the concern they will build up a large business at Salem, which is a natural distributing point for the whole of Western Oregon.

President Schmidt has been in the brewing business since 1875. He built the Centennial brewery at Butte, one of the largest in the West, and then with great pluck and determination went to the brew-master's school at Worms, an ancient city on the Rhine, where he took a full course, returning to his property in Montana. He located next at Portland and then went to the Sound, where he built the Whatcom and Olympia breweries and made a large and valuable property out of each of them, the value of their stock increasing four hundred per cent under his management, and the beer getting a reputation second to none on the Pacific Coast, and the output at Olympia reaching 5000 barrels in July and at Whatcom will go 1500 barrels in June. He had just added the Salem property and will now take the steps necessary to increase the capacity of the Capital Brewery to ten thousand barrels a year. With the fine barley and hops and the excellent water that this brewery is supplied with, there will be built up a reputation for Salem brew that will make this plant one of the most valuable in the West.

Among the improvements contemplated and fully provided for are doubling the capacity of the ice plant. The fine hygenic ice that is now made from distilled water will be made for family use, but a cheaper ide will be made for cold storage purposes. Malting will be conducted on a much larger scale. A side track will be constructed with the permission of the S.P. Co. to handle barley and malt by the car load. Two large rooms will be used for malting and a dry kiln will be built. The company will ship in seed for growing the special varieties of barley used for making the special brews of beer made only by these breweries. A bottling house will be built with a capacity for 150 dozen per day.
Interesting detail about distilled water for ice-making. The water perhaps wasn't so great here. (For more on Salem's water in 1909, see here.)

The company immediately started advertising that they were selling Olympia beer here.
As it will take some time to place our product in the market...we made arrangements to handle the Olympia and Bellingham brews...
For more on the history of Oly, see the Brewery Gems article here. (There's a difference on the acquisition date, 1902 v. 1903. We'll see what we can learn...the news articles seem pretty clear that it was 1903, however.)

Oly started selling the stubby in 1935. Curiously, Sick's had the Ranier brewery, which purchased the Salem Brewing Association in 1943 (see end of note here).

The Sound seemingly always owned Salem Beer! Unfortunately, Prohibition just messed everything up...

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