Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bibulous Business: The Salem Brewery Then and Now

It's almost July - and that means it's Oregon Craft Beer Month!

The Ram seems to be the only one locally doing much of anything, so head on over and check out the special beers and firkins they'll be tapping. On Thursday, the 1st, they'll start with the "XV Anniversary Ale" Release party. On the 2nd, Vanilla Bean Porter; the 9th, Big Red IPA; the 16th, Buttface Amber - and that'll get you started! Hopefully some others will join in the fun!

It's warm finaly, and 104 years ago it might as well have been Oregon Craft Beer Month. How much, really, has changed?

[3 JULY 1906]
The three days' hot wave has swamped the Salem brewery with bibulous business. Carload orders are rushed out day and night, and the big Gambrinus plant is running to its fullest capacity. The dry counties are producing their expected quota of express and mail order business. Stages are loaded going in all directions. Forbidding the use of booze increases the demand for milder drinks, and beer is the most popular drink in hot times like these. The demand will compel the Salem brewery to increase its capacity.

In 1911 the brewery did a major expansion. For the year-end wrap ups of 1911, the papers had this great rendering of the new facility.

The labels are a little hard to read. In the outer circle, clockwise from top: Armory, Machine Works, Wagon Sheds, Stables, Bottle House, Wash House, Brew House, Cellars, Storage, Hotel Marion (the cellars and storage are in the building pictured at the top of our blog header!)

In a sort of inner Circle, clockwise: Ice plant, Boiler House

Along the edges: Trade Street, Oregon Electric RR, Southern Pacific RR (SPRR), Commercial Street

Look at all the rail service! And even in 1911, horses rather than trucks were the most important transportation for local delivery.

Here's the brewery between 1953, when it closed, and 1956 when it was demolished.

And here's the view today!

That's the Conference Center, hotel, and parking lot. Today the closest beer is Magoo's and Bentley's.

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