Horluck Brewing Co. letterhead - image

Horluck Brewing Company
(1933-1939)
and
Sick's Century Brewery
(1939-1957)
 

On the 16th of December 1900, George Fausbol Horluck was born in Chapman, Nebraska to Hans Jorgen Horluck and Hannah Kristine Fansbol, both of Denmark. The couple immigrated by way of Germany in 1898, accompanied by their two year old daughter, Louise Augusta, who was born there. The family arrived in Seattle prior to 1910, and on the 21st of February, 1911, the family gained a second daughter, Marguerita.

George proved to be an able entrepreneur. By 1927, he had amassed a number of ice cream parlors, and on January 4th 1928, his chain became Horluck's Malted Milk Shops, Inc. with a starting capital of $5,000. He soon added $10,000 additional capital, and on April 24th of that same year he shortened the firm's name to Horluck's, Inc. The name change was the result of a suit brought by the Horlick's Malted Milk Corp. for trademark infringement.

George's farther, Hans was residing in Port Orchard where he established the Horluck Transport Company. He operated a ferry boat which was part of the "mosquito fleet" that provided passenger service to Bremerton, and other points on Puget Sound.

 Horlucks Ice Cream sign - image

On the 23rd of December 1930, George and his father formed their Horluck Investment Company with a starting capital of $99,000. Meanwhile, George's malt shops were doing well and the Investment company backed a new venture. They would produce the ice cream for the chain of shops in their own creamery.
 
On August 20, 1932 Horluck's, Inc. became Horluck Creameries, Inc. The new corporation was capitalized at $190,000, with the plant located at 1101 Airport Way. Horluck's Ice Cream became a well known, regional product.
 

In early 1933, with the end of Prohibition eminent, Horluck's, Inc. announced plans to enter the brewing business. In their March 19th issue the Seattle Daily Times reported:

"Horluck's Will Build $50,000 Brewery Here -
 
For the manufacture of an exclusive type of beer, comparing with the famous Carlsberg brew of Copenhagen, George Horluck, head of Horluck's, Inc., yesterday announced plans for the construction of a new brewery, costing $50,000, which will start manufacture about April 10 and begin marketing its seasoned product by June 10.    
Mr. Horluck said: "My new enterprise will be know as the Germania Brewery, and it will be financed entirely with my own money, to make beer exclusively for hotel dining rooms and high-class restaurants."
 

The brewery opened on schedule, on May 13th, as Horluck Malt & Brew instead of the Germania Brewery. They were located at the corner of Westlake and Mercer, at 606 Westlake St. N. They soon choice to do business as the Horluck Brewing Co.

The only brewery in Seattle producing beer immediately after Repeal was the Hemrich Brewing Co. followed directly by the under capitalized Pilsener Brewing Co.  Consequently, the demand for beer far exceeded the supply.

A Danish brewmaster, Nils Christiansen, was engaged to consult with their first brew - a Danish style draught beer. While waiting for their first batch to age enough for release, George Horluck ordered a shipment of beer from his cousin in Denmark - who was head of the Tuborg Brewery. On May 13th, 1,600 cases and 300 barrels ofHorluck's Danish Draught Beer ad Aug. 1933 - image Tuborg Beer arrived from Copenhagen.

The Tuborg Beer served to encourage the public to then try "Horluck's Danish style Draught" (see ad - right), and the company quickly made plans to expand their capacity. By November '33, a new brewhouse was completed, increasing the plant's output to 300 barrels per day.

Their Danish style draught beer sold well, and their head brewmaster introduced some additional brands, both bottled and draft. But by the beginning of '34 the major competition had come on-line. In late January, the Century Brewery Assn. introduced their "Rheinlander Beer" accompanied by a massive advertising budget. Century's ultimate dominance would result in the acquisition of the only two breweries left in Seattle, Hemrich's and Horluck's.

On 8 June of '34, the business was incorporated as the Horluck Brewing Company. The firms vice president and general manager was Bernard Hochstadter, a native of Munich, Germany, who brought 40 years of brewing experience to the firm. Prior to Prohibition, Hochstadter was president of the Everett Brewing Co.

William E. Schick, also of Munich, became the Horluck Brewery's first head brewmaster. He gained his brewing experience prior to Prohibition, first with Huth & Scholl's Puget Sound Brewery, then in Loeb's Milwaukee Brewing Co., and finally with Pacific Brewing & Malting.  Schick replaced the Danish style draught with a Vienna style.

The brewery produced a number of brands (shown below) including: "White and Gold" (a pre-prohibition brand from the Claussen Brewing Assn.), a "Belfast type - Imperial Ale", and a "Horluck's Vienna style Draught". Another draft label shown is the earlier, "Horluck Draught".

Draught, or draft, was meant for tavern consumption. It was fresh and un-pasteurized, and was recognized as beer at its best. The same was true prior to Prohibition and besides enjoying the beer in the saloon it was common to take beer home in a covered pail called a "growler". During the early days after Repeal, where it was legal for "off-sales", you could have the bar-keep fill a jug for carry-out. This was a popular option, and many breweries bottled un-pasteurized draught beer in half-gallon size bottles.

Rheinlander draught beer ad Sept. 1934In the Sept. of '34, Horluck's competitor, the Century Brewery announced a novel packaging scheme for their draught beer. They began offering a 3-pack of 22 oz. bottles calling it a half-gallon package. This was the first time such a merchandising plan had ever been tried, and was an immediate success. Other NW breweries soon adopted the packaging, including Horluck. Below (right) is the 22 oz., no-frills label that Horluck chose, and they labeled their 3-pack box a Growler.

Horluck's White & Gold Beer label - image

Horluck Draught Beer label, 22 oz.

Horluck's Veinnea style Beer label - image

Horluck's Imperial Ale label - image

Horluck's Bock Beer label ca.1934

One of the early brews produced each Spring was their "Bock Beer", a paler style bock than made by the other brewers. In the April '34 edition of the trade publication Brewer & Dispenser, they discussed Horluck's first Bock release:

"Horluck Brewing Company with plant in Seattle, dramatized the introduction of their bock beer to the Seattle Public by enthroning a real buck goat on a Horluck truck. Mr. Goat was accompanied by several men costumed as German country swains and the whole layout assisted greatly in the promotion of bock sales for Seattle retail dealers in Horluck's beer."

The company also produced and a "Half and Half" - only available in bottles - which was described as "a blend of Highland Roasted Malt, and Old Dark Ale Brews - Aged long in Wood." They also bottled their "Horluck's Seattle Beer" in the new 22oz. bottles (below).

Horluck's Seattle Beer label, 22 oz.

But their most popular product was introduced in May of 1935. Bohemian Brewmaster, Adolph Verhill was brought over from Europe in late '34 to formulate and produce a new brew, and after four months of cellaring it was ready for the market. "Horluck's Vienna Style Beer" was a naturally carbonated or "krauzenized" brew, and was of a light Pilsner style.

Horluck's lighted sign
lighted, reverse-on-glass sign

By 1936 Verhill had replaced Wm. Schick (who moved to the Columbia Breweries in Tacoma) as head brewmaster, but Verhill's rein was short lived. With Rainier Beer now being made in Seattle, Holuck was looking for something special to differentiate their popular brand from the heavy competition. He replaced Verhill with Munich born, Franz Puels, a brewmaster who took the position after running breweries in Brazil and Hong Kong.

Puels had a huge, 212 gallon, seamless copper brew kettle installed that used the old-world method of boiling the wort by direct-fire rather than super-heated steam. The new Vienna Beer was introduced in May of '38, and their ad campaigns touted their beers as being "Fire Brewed at 2000 Degrees." The supposed benefit was that the grains were fully cooked!

Horluck Beer truck - image

We'll never know if Puels' Fire Brewed Vienna Beer would have threatened Rainier Beer, since both Puels and the Horluck would only have twelve more months to perform. In May of 1939 the Horluck Brewery was absorbed into Emil Sicks' brewing empire, and Franz Puels returned to Germany.

The Horluck Brewery didn't produce many point-of-sale items, at least not that have survived. The R.O.G. sign (above), this Prismatic sign, the three glasses, and ball tap knob (below) are all for their flagship brand, "Horluck's Vienna style Beer", ca. 1934-1939. However, anything with "Fire Brewed" on it is only from the May '38 to May '39 time frame, and would be harder to find.

Horluck's Vienna Beer Prismatic sign - image

 

Horluck's Vienna Beer, stemmed glass - image
paneled glass, ca.1935

Horluck's Vienna Beer glass - image
Horluck's Vienna ball tap knob

Horluck's Fire Brewed beer glass - image
paneled glass, ca.1938

Horluck's Beer neon sign - image

 

Sick's Century Brewery (1939-1957)

After Prohibition the Sick family of Canada was intent on entering the U.S. market. They began in 1933 by acquiring control of breweries in both Great Falls and Missoula, Montana. Next they established the Goetz Brewery in Spokane, later moving the business to the old Galland-Burke Brewery, but they were drawn to Seattle were more lucrative opportunities awaited.

Also in 1933 they made a deal to lease the old Bay View Brewery which had been sold and operating as a feed mill since 1919. On June 7th of '33 the Century Brewing Assn. was incorporated and the plant renamed the Century Brewery, and in 1934 the Sicks purchased the plant from the mill owners.

The Apex Brewing Co. was located on Hemrich family property adjacent to the Century Brewery Assn. plant, and had been struggling since the Feb. '35 death of its founder, Alvin Hemrich. In May of 1938, Sick purchased the company, and for one year, until May '39, the plant became home to Rheinlander Brewery, Inc. Later the facility was to become the company's quality control, and chemical lab.

The Pilsener Brewing Co. had closed in late '34, which left the Horluck Brewing Company as the only other operating brewery in Seattle - and on May 1st, 1939, through a deal brokered by Lester R. McCash, that too was under the Sick's control. McCash joined the Sicks' team after a disappointing tenure with the Hemrich Brewing Co., which was about to go under.

The deal with McCash was facilitated by Horluck's vice-president and general manager, Bernard Hochstadter. The plant went through a $75,000 expansion and modernization program, and re-opened as the new Century Brewery - and home to Rheinlander Beer. Hochstadter stayed on as vice-president of the new organization. 

The new brewmaster for Century was John A. Weiss, oldest son of Hans H. Weiss, brewmaster for the old Century Brewery - now known as Seattle Brewing & Malting (or SeaBrew to insiders).

Below is a 1939 photo of the Horluck plant - now the Century Brewery - with it's new signage: "Century's Rheinlander". This sign had been moved from the main plant on Airport Way - as can be seen in this 1935 photo of the original Century Brewery.

Sick's Century Brewery c.1939 - photo
The "new" Century Brewery - October 1939

"Sick's Select" beer was introduced to Seattle in August of 1939, seemingly as an alternative to their flagship brand, "Rainier". However, it was merely a ploy that allowed the Sick organization to offer a premium Seattle beer to Portland and the San Francisco Bay area. Due to the deal struck with the Rainier Brewing Co. of SF in 1935, they could only sell "Rainier" in Washington and Alaska, so this new brand provided them entry into these other lucrative markets. "Sick's Select", as well as "Rainier" was produced in the main plant on Airport Way.

first Sick's Select label, ca.1939
first Sick's Select label, ca.1939

In April of 1940, brewmaster, John A. Weiss was still producing "Rheinlander", and a new blue & gold label was introduced to stimulate sales. Weiss also introduced an ale to the line-up in 1940 called "Boss' Ale". Then in Sept. of '41, they transferred production of "Sick's Select" to the Century plant, and the floundering "Rheinlander" brand was discontinued. The Century plant now became "The Home of Sick's Select" and had the signage to prove it, as seen in this 1944 drawing.

Century Brewery drawing, ca.1944
Sicks' Century plant drawing, ca.1944

While the advertising items touted the Sick's Century Brewery name, their product labels and cans carried the corporate name, Seattle Brewing & Malting Co.

In November, 1941 their short lived "Boss' Ale" was replaced by "Sick's Select Ale", and both the Beer & Ale labels carried an updated logo displaying a new style "6". This was also done for their canned "Sick's Select". The new labels carried the slogan "The Famous Ale/Beer From Seattle", and in '47 the slogan was changed to "The Best Beer/Ale In Town".

Boss' Ale label, ca.1940
Boss' Ale label, ca.1940

Sick's Select Ale label, ca.1941
Sick's Select Ale label, ca.1941

By 1942, co-managers L. R. McCash & F. W. Shepard had increased annual production at the Century plant to 80,000 barrels. With the purchase of the Salem Brewery Assn. in Oct. '43, Shepard transferred to the Salem plant and relieved the outgoing manager in hopes of increasing production there as well. John Weiss was replaced by his assistant, Al Bush, and Weiss moved to Los Angeles to take over as brewmaster of the Maier brewery.

In January 1944, Sicks' was added to all the company's breweries and the Century Brewery now became Sicks' Century Brewery, and "Sick's Select" was changed to "Sicks' Select" - but "Sick's Select Ale" had already been discontinued. Unfortunately, neither the Ale or the Beer had made the impact on the California market that had been anticipated, but now the remaining "Sick's Select" beer was holding its own in the greater Portland area. With its production now in Oregon the brand was doing even better there, and the slogan, "The Famous Beer from Seattle" was replaced with, "A Sicks' Quality Product".

Sicks' Select Beer label ca.1946

 

In 1949 Emil Sick decided to give the "Sicks' Select" label (left) a new look. He hired Walter Landor of San Francisco, who came up with the design shown on the label below (right). It was introduced in July of '49.

This was Landor's first work with a beer label and it earned him a design award in '49. In 1952 Landor re-designed the famous, red "R" on the Rainier label, and it was introduced in early '53.

Landor went on to work on other brewer's labels, and in early '57 he updated Lucky Lager's distinctive red "X" logo with stylized hop leaves.

Brew 66 test market bottle, c.1950 - image

 

Also in 1949, Bob Weingaertner succeeded Al Bush as brewmaster. Weingaertner came to Seattle from NY City where he had been a brewer for Piel Bros. Late in 1950, Weingaertner was instrumental in the formulation of a new product which would become "Brew 66". It was test marketed in the Seattle area from March to June of '51. They called it the "new taste of Sicks' Select", so rather than print new labels for the trial they just overprinted the "Sicks' Select" label with the new brand name (at right).

new Brew 66 beer labelIn July of '51, "Brew 66" was launched, and production commenced at both the Century Brewery, and Sicks' Brewing Co. in Salem, OR - this time sporting its own new label (below left) designed for the roll-out. 

A separate sales organization was formed for the new brand and it proved to be a marketing success, and by early '54 it had replaced the old "Sicks' Select".
The "Sicks' Select" banner was also removed from the "Brew 66" labels and beer cans.

Two years later, in June '53, the Salem plant was closed, making the Century Brewery the sole "Home of Brew 66".

Brew 66 Special Draught plaqueIn July of '55, the Century brewery introduced "Brew 66 Special Draught" for taverns, but continued canning and bottling "Brew 66" for the carry-out trade. Then in 1956, production of "Brew 66" was shifted to the main plant on Airport Way, still doing business as Sicks' Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. (SeaBrew).

On 15 April, 1957, the SeaBrew stockholders voted to change the corporate name to Sicks' Rainier Brewing Co. By now, production of "Brew 66" at the Airport Way plant was meeting demands and it was decided to that the Century plant would cease functioning as a brewery. However, the building continued to house the executive offices for the Brew 66 Division. The famed Brew 66 Taproom also stayed open to the public, as well as serve as a taproom school for tavern owners.

Then in July '58, the decision was made to offer "Brew 66" only as a draft beer in taverns, and by late '58 the last cans & bottles had been sold. The last "Brew 66" label, ca.1958, is shown below.

Brew 66 label ca.1958


Four years later, in March of '62, the Brew 66 taproom in the Century Brewery was closed, and all activities were transferred to the main plant on Airport Way.

On Jan. 4, 1965, the property at Westlake Ave. N. and Mercer Ave. was sold to an investment company who in turn leased the property to Union Oil of Calif. A couple of months later the Century Brewery was demolished to make way for a gas station.

But "Brew 66" remained in the Rainier Brewery's line-up. As a budget draft beer at only 3.2% it was a favorite for college keggers and pizza parlors, and the brand held on until the early '90s.

 

 

 

  Brew 66 delivery van, ca.1951
1951 Chevy panel van

 

Sick's Select & Brew 66 Breweriana

           

Sick's Select glass ca.1951
Sick's Select, ca.1949

Brew 66 neon, c.1965 - image
 
Brew 66 neon, ca.1960

Last brew 66 can ca.1958
last Brew 66 can, ca.1958

Brew 66 barrel bank - image
chalk-ware, barrel bank, ca.1955

Brew 66  ball tap knob - image
chrome, ball tap knob, ca.1951
Brew 66 acrylic tap
Brew 66 acrylic tap, ca.1953

Brew 66 lighted beer sign - image
Lighted, motion sign, ca. 1951-56
 

Brew 66 FT beer can - image
Brew 66 beer can, ca.1951

Brew 66 display bottle - image
22" tall, display bottle, ca.1951


the only Brew 66 glasses made

 

BREW 66 & SICK'S SELECT COLLECTIBLES - For Sale 

"Sicks' Select" glass - see GLASSES
 

 

 

All contents including images are copyright by BreweryGems.com
 and can not be used without permission from BreweryGems.
Copyright 2008 ~ All Rights Reserved.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • To Bob Kay for the Growler Lager label, as seen in his publication, US Beer Labels, Vol. 1 - The Western States. For this, or other volumes, go to - BobKayBeerLabels.com
     

  • To the Mugrage collection for the paneled, "Horluck's Vienna" tumbler.
     

  • To Michael Magnussen for the images of his Horluck's neon, and the Prismatic sign.
     

  • And to Jeff Henry for the great Horluck Brewing Company letterhead and "Seattle Beer" label.
     

  For any comments, additions, or corrections - or if you have items for sale -
please contact me:

Gary@BreweryGems.com


Brewery Gems
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1999

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