Albert Braun Brewery photo

Albert Braun Brewing Association

Albert Braun's brewery had its grand opening on April 3, 1891, following a planning and building phase that took nearly a year from the March 13, 1890, purchase of the construction site. This short lived enterprise was a joint venture of local investors, and Otto Huber's brewing syndicate in Illinois, which provided 90% of the capital.

The company was incorporated on 22 May, 1890 and capitalized at $250,000. The principals were Albert Braun, president and general manager; Gorge B. Kittinger, vice-president; D. N. Baxter, secretary; and Herman Chapin, treasurer.

The brewery was located in Duwamish, which was an area six miles South of Seattle, located on the Northern Pacific Railroad, (now the south end of Boeing Field). The site was a five acre parcel of the Terry homestead, with frontage on the Duwamish River. The plant was built in accordance to plans furnished by well known brewery specialist, Charles Kaestner & Co. of Chicago, and under the supervision of Seattle architect, H. Steinman. The brewery included an artificial ice plant of 25 tons daily capacity. The total cost of the plant was $140,000.

Braun's Columbia and Standard Beer labels
"Drink Braun's Beer" - label

Brewing operations commenced on December 15, 1890, and the product reached the market three months later in late March of '91. The brewery's primary brands were Columbia Beer, Standard Beer, and Braun's Beer. Two months later, on May 1st, the first ever locally brewed Braun's Bock Beer was released with much fanfare.

The company also used their excess refrigeration capacity to offer their ice for home use.

Albert Braun brewery workers
Brewery workers and the plant's volunteer fire fighters

Some of the brewery workers, in the photo above, are wearing seven button shirts, indicating that they are among the brewery's volunteer fire brigade. The man second from the left, holding the sign, is J. Henry Beckman, the plant engineer and brewmaster who oversaw the plant's construction and start-up. Once it was in full production he took a new position with the Milwaukee Brewery in Tacoma.

The advertisement shown here is a fantasy depiction of the facility - a common practice at the time. The breweries were rarely as grand as the drawings in their advertising, as you can see when you compare this ad with the cabinet photo at the top of the page.

 Braun's Beer ad

The annual meeting of stockholders, held on October 28, 1892, resulted in the election of majority shareholder, Otto Huber, to the position of president; and Albert Braun, vice president and general manager.

On 11 January, 1893, the Braun brewery joined the Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Co. and Hemrich's Bay View Brewery to form Seattle Brewing & Malting. This consolidation was effected by Otto Huber's syndicate, who had successfully merged three breweries in the formation of the Rock Island Brewing Co. in his home state of Illinois. The consolidation was furthered by a Huber associate, George Gund, who had purchased Claussen's interest in the Claussen-Sweeney Brewery.  

Albert Braun was elected first vice president of the new association, with Andrew Hemrich, president; Edward F. Sweeney, Secretary; and Fred Kirschner, Treasurer. The board of directors then sent Albert to San Francisco to handle the association's extensive business concerns in that city. Additionally, the board elected to close the Braun Brewery. While strictly a financial decision, Braun took it personally, and in August of 1893, Albert Braun returned to seattle and resigned as vice president. He had no further dealings with SB&MCo except for his stock holdings.

Albert remained in Seattle until the following October, when he moved to Rock Island, Illinois. He was never to enjoy the prosperity that the shareholders in Seattle Brewing & Malting would earn. On February 27, 1895, at the age of 32, he took his own life. (see biography)

While still holding a significant number of Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. shares, he was not considered well-to-do in the matter of ready cash. Also, Otto Huber had reneged on his promise to invest with Albert in the purchase of a brewery in LaSalle, Ill. It was believed that this was the final blow that pushed Albert to make the ultimate decision.

On September 29, 1899, the Albert Braun brewery was completely destroyed by fire. The monetary loss on the brewery, which had been idle since 1893, was nearly $100,000, about half covered by insurance. The brewery wasn't rebuilt, but the fire spared the refrigeration plant, so the firm was able to resume its retail ice business.

Albert Braun Brg. Assn. match safe


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  • Thanks to Bryan Anderson for use of the Albert Braun label. 

  • To Dan Eskenazi for the cabinet photo of the Brewery.

  • And to the Boatman family for the photo of the brewery workers, including their gr-grandfather, J. Henry Beckman.


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. Brewing Co., Seattle Brewing & Malting, Bellingham Bay Brewery, Aberdeen Brewing Co., Albert Braun Brewing Assn., Columbia Brewing Co., and the Washington Brewing Co. of Everett.

Fake Braun Brewing Assn. match safe
Fake Albert Braun Brg. Assn. match safe
taken from label above



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