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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
taken from label above
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