Bay View Brewery 1891 letterhead


 Bay View Brewing Company

1880s photo of the Bay View Brewery
1886 photo of the Bay View Brewery

In 1883, Andrew Hemrich and partner John Kopp established a small brewing operation that would eventually become the Rainier Brewery. Their firm operated under the name of Kopp & Hemrich, and was located south of downtown Seattle. The brewery was at the base of Beacon Hill, on the corner of 9th Avenue and Hanford Street, and near a spring of pure water. 

Andrew met John Kopp in Bozeman, MT were he had been employed by a small brewery. Kopp had been working in his brother-in-law's bakery. The two men decided that their were more opportunities to be had on the Pacific coast.

The "bay view" referred to their vantage of Elliott Bay, which would eventually be obscured by new building on filled tide lands. When the plant began operation, the waters of Duwamish delta still lapped the slopes of Beacon Hill, and the narrow-gauge Grant Street Railway rode above the tide flats on a trestle along the future route of Airport Way.

 In 1884 Andrew's father, John left Alma, WI and joined the firm by purchasing Kopps share. The enterprise was now doing business as Hemrich & Company's "Bay View Brewery."

Hemrich & Co. directory ad ca.1885
1885 City Directory ad

The following year (1885) Andrew's brother-in-law, Frederick Kirschner and sister, Emma arrived in Seattle. John, Sr. and Frederick then purchased a share in the enterprise. The company officers were now Andrew as president, Frederick as secretary, and John, Sr. as treasurer.

Bay View Brewing bottles - quart, pint & half-pintBay View Brewing Lager Beer signMajor improvements were undertaken, and in 1887 a new plant was built (see photo below), and the production of real lager beer was introduced. At this time a bottling works was also built across from the brewery. Bay View was also the first to introduce bottled lager beer on the Puget Sound. They bottled in quart, pint, and half-pint size bottles. The bottles were made in Germany and are a beautiful, green color.

With the 1887 plant expansion, Bay View now had the capacity to export their product outside the local area. Andrew Hemrich was a provisional trustee in the newly reorganized Victoria Brewing & Ice Co. in Victoria, B. C. He provided his brother, Alvin, a position with the brewery in 1891, and Alvin stayed until a new plant was built in 1893. With steamer traffic flowing steadily between Victoria and Seattle, Andrew secured the services of an agent in Victoria, B.C. to bottle and distribute their "Export Beer" described as a "Pale Lager." In June of 1891 they contracted with Close & Johnson, who had a bottling works and cold storage plant on Esquilmalt road to act as sole agents for their beer. Initially they only bottled 90 gallons, or 360 quarts per day. The label shown (below) would have been one that was used on the bottles (above right). The arrangement with Close & Johnson was terminated in 1892.

Bay View Export Beer label Bay View Brewery etched glass, c.1895
Export Beer label ca.1891 etched glass, ca.1890


Bay View Brewery (1893-1913)

On 11 January of 1893, Bay View joined with the breweries of Albert Braun and Claussen-Sweeney to form a new association - the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company. The brand name eventually chosen for the company's flag-ship beer was "Rainier".

The Bay View Brewing Company was disolved but the plant continued to operate, producing various products for the parent company. In 1906 a bottling shop and additional refrigeration was added  to the Bay View plant.

Brewing ceased in August of 1913, with all production shifted to the main plant in Georgetown, but the bottling works continued operating. Then state-wide Prohibition was voted in, to take effect on Jan. 1, 1916, so the company made plans to shift operations to San Francisco.   

They made the move to California in the belief that national Prohibition would not be approved, but they were wrong. Prohibition bacome the law of the land on Jan. 16, 1920. The Hemrich family knew that there was no hope of re-opening the Bay View plant any time soon, plus they still owned the huge Georgetown plant and a new plant in San Francisco. So, they decided to cut their losses and sell the Bay View Brewery.

With little value as a brewery they hoped to find a buyer who could put the plant to other uses. They found such a buyer in Robert Bruce Montague and partner, Manley Harshman, and in Nov. of 1918 the plant was sold. With milling experience gained in the Far East, the two new owners re-equipped the plant for the milling of flour and feed grain. In February of 1919, the plant went online as the Bayview Milling Company. Harshman was soon bought out, leaving Montague as sole proprietor. Unfortunately, Montague died in 1927, but his widow continued to run the enterprise.

The Bayview Milling Co. operated until 18 June, 1933, when Emil Sick took out a lease on the plant from Montague's widow and re-opened the old Bay View Brewery as the Century Brewery. Sick soon vacated the lease and purchased the plant outright. It would later be known as the Rainier Brewery.


Bay View Brewery c.1898 

Brewery photo ca.1898 showing the Grant St. bridge and tracks


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  • Thanks to Kurt Chambers for the image of the "Bay View Brewing Lager Beer" sign.


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