Hemrich Brothers Brewing Co. letterhead

 

   Hemrich Bros. Brewing Co. (1897-1916)

and successors

Hemrich Staff Products Company
(1916-1923)

Hemrich's Inc.
(1929-1933)
 

In 1897 Alvin M. Hemrich (see biography) purchased the plant and business of the North Pacific Brewery. The plant was better known as the old Slorah Brewery, located on Howard Ave. N. (now Yale Ave. N.), between Republican and Mercer streets. The firm was then operated as the Alvin Hemrich Brewing Co.  After six months Alvin was joined by his brother Louis, and Julius Damus, in the organization of the Hemrich Brothers Brewing Company, which was incorporated under the laws of the state on the 4th of February, 1899.
 

Hemrich Bros. Brewery -  image
Hemrich Bros. Brewery ca.1901

Hemrich Bros. Brewery workers -  image
Early crew - Alvin Hemrich seated front left

~ click on images for larger view ~

"Under the effective management of these interested principals the business was built up to a most successful standpoint, the equipment of the plant being of the most approved modern type. The products of the brewery, including lager and porter, were reported to be of exceptional quality by utilizing the best material in the process of manufacture, the malt being secured from Wisconsin and California, and the hops being the most select products from Bohemia and from the state of Washington."  quote from early Seattle history.
Hemrich Bros. Brg. Co. ad 1901 Seattle Directory - image
Ad from 1901 Seattle City Directory
Hemrich Bro's Brewing Co. oval beer tray - image
stock tray, mfg. unknown, ca. 1900
Hemrich Select beer tray Night Watchman - image
The Chas. W. Shonk Co. stock tray "Nachwachter" -  ca.1907
Hemrich Bros. Brewing Co. etched beer glass - image
Hemrich Bros. etched beer glass
Hemrich Bro's Select Beer label - image
By 1903 the brewery's annual production was approximately thirty-five thousand barrels, and it employed about 75 workmen. With the improvements in brewing technology, and through major changes in the equipment of the plant, having installed the latest improved accessories, they greatly augmented their productive capacity. The plant was now larger than the family's Bay View Brewery. The beer was delivered in wagons pulled by purebred draft horses, which were the pride of the organization. However, they remained exclusively a draught beer brewery, with bottling done by a nearby bottling works. See label (right).

They produced a number of beers including Seattle Pride and Apollo Beer, but their flagship brand was Hemrich's Select, a premium lager beer. 

Apollo Beer wagon, SF

Their San Francisco agent & bottler was Charles H. Dechent. The photo of Dechent's horse drawn Apollo Beer wagon, carries the slogan: "Seattles Famous Brew."




Alvin M. Hemrich was president and manager of the company from the time of its organization, and continued in that capacity until 1915. He was also the president of the Claussen Brewing Association, and was a major stockholder in the family's Seattle Brewing & Malting Company.

Hemrich Bros. etched beer glass - image
Hemrich Bros. etched beer glass

Hemrich Bros. beer tray c.1904 - image
The Meek Co. stock tray No. 65 "Annabelle" -  ca.1904

Hemrich's Select beer tray - image
by Chas. W. Shonk  -  there's also a matching tip tray

Hemrich's Apollo Beer etched glass - image
Apollo Beer etched glass


Hemrich Bros. Brg. Co. match safe
Hemrich Bros. Brg. Co. match safe



Hemrich's Staff Products letterhead, c.1917 - image
1917 letterhead


Hemrich's Staff Products Company
(1916-1923)

With the onset of state-wide prohibition in 1916, Hemrich Bros. began doing business as Hemrich's Staff Products Co.  On January 1, they commenced the manufacture of a cereal beverage (near beer) called "Lifestaff." The following March they added a sparkling appleHemrich's Staff Prods. Lifestaff button juice called "Applestaff,", both with the slogan:
"It's Liquid Food."

 

The brand name of "Lifestaff" was a clever way of identify it as a beer. The term is an abbreviated form of "the staff of life" - which refers to bread. For Germans, beer - like bread - is a daily staple, and beer is often called liquid bread. So, "Lifestaff - a Liquid Food" gave little doubt as to what was in the bottle, especially to their German patrons.

On 31 January, 1918, the firm registered the name "Bockstaff" for a malt-less, non-alcoholic beverage sold as a soft drink.

The operation was under the management of Paul F. Glaser, who was also secretary of the company. They continued with this product until the imposition of national Prohibition in 1920. The Company struggled on for three more years, and in 1923 the Lake Union plant was sold.

 

Hemrich's, Inc.
(1929-1933)

   Hemrich's Special Brew label c.1933 - image

In 1929 Alvin Hemrich, in partnership with Isadore Luxenberg and his father-in-law, William Rutschow established Hemrich's, Inc., and started production of a near-beer called "Hemrich's Special Brew" under Federal permit No. L-27. The label shown here had the words "contains less than ½ of 1% alcohol by volume" at the top, but was over printed and "alcoholic content less than 3.2% by weight" was added. This was merely to utilize the stock of labels left from before April '33.

Hemrich's 1932 calendar - imageAlvin had plenty of experience with low alcohol near-beers. From 1916 to 1920 he produced a cereal beverage called "Lifestaff" at his Lake Union plant - the Hemrich Bros. Brewing Company.

He also produced a near-beer called "Golden Age" at his Aberdeen Brewery from 1916 to 1924. His process was to brew a regular strength beer and then remove most of the alcohol. However that process wasn't always adhered to. In 1931, he and his oldest son, Elmer, got into trouble with the Feds for selling beer stronger than allowed by law. They were also busted for selling wort in five gallon cans to home brewers.

This newly established, Hemrich's Inc. was located at 2918 9th Ave. So. (soon to be Airport Way), in a remodeled frame building that had been a brewhouse prior to the 1887 construction of a new, larger Bay View Brewery. It was adjacent to the Bay View plant, which had been sold and was now the Bayview Milling Co.

This was the only operating brewery in Seattle at this time - as noted on the 1932 calendar shown here. The calendar art was done by Bradshaw Crandall, who also did the the art work for the 1936 calendar for the successor company mentioned below.

With Repeal in April of '33, the firm was re-organized as Hemrich Brewing Co., Inc. It was issued U-Permit No. 1205, and on April 7th of 1933, it was the first Seattle brewery to offer the public legal beer in over 17 years.

The following year the company would again be re-organized as the Apex Brewing Company.


 

WARNING - I've seen phony match safes from seven different WA breweries - all with graphics taken from my history pages. The fakes I'm aware of are supposedly from: Hemrich Bros.;  Seattle Brewing & Malting;  Bellingham Bay Brewery;  Aberdeen Brewing Co.;  Albert Braun Brewing Assn.;  Columbia Brewing Co.;  and the Washington Brewing Co. of Everett.


Fake Hemrich Bros. match safe - graphics
taken from header at top of page.

Hemrich Bros. Brg. Co. match safe
Authentic match safe.

Article by


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Special thanks to the Graham for family for providing the early 1900s photos. 

  • And to Jeff Henry for the image of his beautiful 1932 calendar.

 

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