Angeles Beer label - header graphic 
 Angeles Brewing & Malting Co.
(1901-1913)
and its successor:
Angeles Brewing Co.
(1913-1915)


At the turn of the 20th century, the city of Port Angeles was experiencing rapid expansion, aided by land boomers, or speculators. The most prominent "boomer" and promoter of Port Angeles was Col. James S. Coolican, president of the city's Board of Trade. In the Summer of 1901, he organized the Angeles Brewing & Malting Co. in Chicago, with local investors. The site for the brewery was to be at the mouth of Tumwater Valley, and in August 1901 construction began at that site. The following October, the Seattle Times reported:

"Port Angeles -- A new industry, not dreamed of one year ago, is under way - a brewery. The building is under roof and the manager says that if no unforeseen accident interferes, he will have a "brew" by the 1st of May. The capacity will be one hundred and fifty barrels per day."

Unfortunately, an accident did occur. On 8 April, 1902, Col. Coolican unexpectedly died in Chicago, where just a week prior he had met with St. Louis investors for the purpose of erecting manufacturing enterprises in Port Angeles. At the time of Collican's death the Angeles brewery building was nearing completion, with machinery in Seattle awaiting transport to Port Angeles. On 20 April, 1902, the Seattle Times reported:

"Saturday, manager F. A. Jensen of the Angeles Brewing and Malting Company arrived in the city, accompanied by his wife and family; also Messrs. Charles H. Hirch (sic) and P. Pettinger (sic) and families. Mr. Hirch is president and Mr. Pettinger is brewmaster for the company. Immediately they commenced to install the machinery in the new plant and have a large force of men pushing the same to completion."

The president of the new company was Charles H. Hirsch of Chicago, and the brewmaster was Adolph Oettinger, also of Chicago. Director and secretary of the company was Adolph Linick, headquartered in Chicago.


Angeles Brewing & Malting plant -  Univ. of Wash. Libraries Special Collections

Not long after the projected May '02 date, Oettinger had "Angeles Beer" on the market. They sold keg beer locally and shipped it to near-by Port Townsend, which had its own brewery, and across the Straights of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, B.C. They also bottled their own beer for their distribution, but used a bottler/distributor in Seattle to better effect an entry into that important market.

As can be seen in the photo (above), the brewery was rather modest. It had only a 75 barrel kettle which, given the two brews per day, they figured an
annual capacity of only 3,000 barrels. Which was appropriate since they had little cellar storage space. Unlike most breweries that had more than one brew kettle, they concentrated on a single product, "Angeles Beer" - a light, pilsner style lager. Although they did produce a seasonal "Angeles Bock Beer" for release in the Spring - that may not have happened until they had enlarged the plant in 1913.

By 1907, the company had added capacity and was now capable of producing 6,000 barrels/yr.  Unfortunately, in '07, their first brewmaster and plant manager, Oettinger took another position with an Eastern brewery. Perhaps he saw the handwriting-on-the-wall. He was replaced by, Jacob Leufkens, a brewmaster who had been with the Claussen Brewing Assn. since March of 1901.

The company had been shipping their product to Seattle and around the Puget Sound, but transportation cost were too high for their low margin product. To that end, they purchased the 94 ft. steamship Albion - in late 1907.  The small freighter allowed the brewery to more economically transport full kegs of beer toAngeles Beer ad Bellingham 1907 - image their Seattle bottler, J. G. Fox & Co. (see label - top), and to return empty kegs for refilling. It also served as a transport of raw materials for brewing, plus the ability to take on extra cargo and passengers for added revenue.

They now used the Albion for regularly scheduled deliveries of their beer, bottled at the brewery, and draught beer in kegs, to cities on the upper Puget Sound, such as Port Townsend, Everett, Victoria, B.C., and Bellingham (see 1907 ad - right).

The brewery had serious competition in the Seattle market which prevented them from becoming a serious contender. However, they did get some welcome exposure with the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. At that illustrious event they won a Gold Medal for their beer, and issued an etched glass heralding that accomplishment, shown below (right).
 

Angeles Brg. Co. Pilsener Beer glass

Angeles Beer glass, c.1909

The tip tray (below-left) has the date of the Expo and shows the A-Y-P official flag. A post card (below-right) from the Expo depicts the same flags flying over one of the Exhibit halls.

Angeles Brewing & Malting Co. tip tray c.1909 - image
4" dia. tip tray

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific postcard, c.1909 - image
1909 A-Y-P postcard

What notoriety they gained from their Gold Medal apparently wasn't enough to improve their fortunes. Perhaps it's because they weren't the only brewery to win high honors. Both the Claussen Brewing Assn. and Seattle Brewing & Malting also brought home a Gold Medal.

 

Angeles Brewing & Malting Co letterhead, c.1909
letterhead dated Oct. 19, 1909

However, in spite of their best efforts the company was still struggling to pay its debts. On April 21st, 1910, the Seattle Daily News reported: 

"Port Angeles -- The Angeles Brewing & Malting Company, operating a brewery in this city and the steamer Albion between this point and Seattle has been placed in the hands of the receiver by the superior court. J. F. Janacke was named as receiver. The action was taken upon the application of F. A. Jensen who has been acting as president and manager of the company."

Still more troubles plagued the company. On 30 May, 1910, the Albion collided in the fog with the power schooner Pilot, who limped to port in a sinking condition. Then three months later, on August 3rd, the Albion collided with the larger steamship Chippewa, sustaining major damage. Adding to the problem was the fact that the Albion was illegally carrying crates of dynamite along with passengers. Luckily there was no explosion or injuries, but the company was hit with a heavy fine.

The brewery continued to operate with bankruptcy protection, and in August of 1911, receiver, Janacke stated that..."The brewery is doing well under the receivership and some day will be capable of paying every cent of its indebtedness. It was hampered by hard times, but under the receivership has made a material gain."

About this time George Wilhelm, a brewer from the Shasta Brewery in Redding, CA, joined the team of brewers under Leufkens. When Leufkens became ill, Wilhelm assumed the duties of brewmaster. He would later own and operate the Angeles Ice & Soda Works.

The "hard times" alluded to by Janecke would have to include the passage of the "local option". This was anti-saloon legislation that which allowed communities to vote to become "dry" effective Jan. 1, 1911. Unfortunately, the cities of Everett (pop. 25,000) and Bellingham (45,000) both voted dry, resulting in the loss of two important markets for the brewery, which had increased capacity to 12,000 barrels/yr.

Due to the effects of numerous saloons shutting down, and stiff competition in Seattle, the company did not work its way out of bankruptcy, and on 30 April, 1913, controlling interest in the Angeles Brewing & Malting Co. was sold to a group of Seattle investors for $65,000.

Angeles Beer tray - Quality Tells, c.1905 - image
"Quality Tells" - 13" beer tray, ca.1905

Angeles Brg. & Mltg. stock tray "Giselda" by Meek - image
13" stock tray "Griselda" by the Meek Co. 1907

Angeles Brg. & Mltg. framed paper sign - image
12" X 26" framed paper sign

Angeles Beer tray, stock image, c.1908
12" tray by Chas. Shonk, ca.1908

 

 

Angeles Brewing Co. (1913-1915)

The June 6, 1913 edition of the Seattle Daily Times reported:

"Andrew Blakistone, former general manager of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Co., has been elected vice-president and general manager of the reorganized Port Angeles Brewing Company. He will have his general offices at the City Dock, in Seattle, and will managed from this city. The plant at Port Angeles will be greatly enlarged.

The Port Angeles corporation was purchased by Blakistone. Harry Levin, the Burnett Bros., of Seattle, Centralia and Aberdeen, and Eastern capitalists. Control of the company passed from the receiver to the new stockholders this month."

When the plant opened in 1902, Port Angeles had a population of only 2,300. By 1913, the population had almost doubled and the city limits now encompassed the brewery. The location of the new Angeles Brewing Co. was now given as 3rd. and Tumwater Sts.

A month after reorganization of the company the July 9 edition of the Seattle Daily Times reported that new investment capital, of approximately $50,000 had been raised for enlargement of the Port Angeles plant, with new machinery and material being shipped from Seattle. The article also stated: "The plant has been extended from 12,000 to 20,000 capacity per year and with the completion of new storage tanks at Port Angeles the capacity will shortly be doubled."

A month later, an August 1913 ad proclaimed:

"The Famous Angeles Beer - Made from the most wholesome and carefully selected materials and the pure water from the Olympic Mountain Springs.
ANGELES BEER contains considerably less alcohol than other beers. You may partake freely of it with none of the disagreeable effects produced by other beers. As a delightful and palatable beverage it has no superior. Order by the case.
FAMILY TRADE A SPECIALTY - ITS FLAVOR DELIGHTS - Brewed in Port Angeles - Sold Everywhere." Angeles Bock Beer ad - Apr. 1914 - image

The "less alcohol" and "Family Trade" comments were a ploy used by virtually all of the brewers of the day to mollify the Temperance and Anti-Saloon activists, in an attempt to define beer as a beverage of moderation. Another ploy by brewers was to characterize their products as healthful tonics. This is evident in the April 1914 ad for "Angeles Bock Beer" (shown - right).

While they tried to position themselves as brewers of a temperance beverage, the pressures of the Prohibition movement continued to grow, and further erode their income. In August, the company announced:

"Big Reduction In Price of Famous Angeles Beer -- Beginning September 1, 1914, ANGELES BEER, that splendid beverage brewed from the finest Bohemian hops and the pure sparkling water of the Olympic, and containing less alcohol than other beers, will be sold at the following prices:  Quart Cases - $2.25 & Pint Cases - $1.25."

In spite of their efforts to position the makers of hard liquor as the rightful target of the Prohibitionists, the citizens of Washington state, in Nov. 1914, voted to abolish manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages, effective 1 Jan., 1916. This gave the brewers and distillers all of 1915 to sell their stock and convert their plants to other purposes.

The company tried to keep the plant operating with the production of soft drinks but eventually gave that up. There was also a plan to turn the plant into a fruit and vegetable cannery, and that may have happened, but I haven't been able to confirm it.


 


Angeles Beer ad, May 1914

Angeles Brg. Co. rolled tin sign - image
14" sq. rolled edge, tin sign, ca.1914

FOOTNOTES:

Adolph Oettinger left Port Angeles in 1907 to become brewmaster for the Bluefield Brewing Co. of Bluefield, WV. When that company closed in 1914, Oettinger took over as head brewmaster of the Duquesne Brewing Co. of Pittsburgh - a position he held until 1950.Jakob Leufkens 1895 diploma - image

Jakob Leufkens was from Straelen, Rheinpreussen (now Nordrhein-Westphalia), Germany, and attended the Lehmann Brewers' School at Worms. Upon graduating in Sept. 1895 (diploma - right), he took a position as brewer at the St. Pauli Brewery in Bremen. He died in about 1914 in Port Angeles.

John F. Janecke was a principal in the company, holding 260 shares of stock with a par value of $100. Fred A. Jensen, brewery superintendent, held 269 shares which, along with Janecke's, gave them controlling interest in the company.

 

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Thanks to the University Of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Div. for the early photo of the Angeles Brewery.
     
  • Thanks to Bob Kay, labelologist, for the great "Angeles Beer" label (top) - found in his publication, US Beer Labels, Vol. 1 - The Western States. For this, or other volumes, go to - BobKayBeerLabels.com
     
  • To Bud Leufkens for the copy of his grand-father's brewmaster diploma.
     
  • And to Jeff Henry for the image of the Angeles Beer glass, and letterhead - both c.1909.   

  •  

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