Golden Age Breweries, Inc. header

 

Golden Age Breweries, Inc. (1933-1948)

When state-wide Prohibition hit Washington in 1916, most breweries shut down, but a few struggled to stay in business by making soft drinks and/or near-beer. Those who remained operational were in a position to rapidly resume brewing real beer when Prohibition was repealed, but there were not enough of them to meet the huge demand. Consequently investing in the brewing business was a sure thing.

One of the Spokane breweries to close was the Shade Brewery. Its equipment had been stripped and shipped to Canada. The building had remaind abandoned for 17 years, but it was still sound and was of great interest to would-be investors.

Schade Brewery ca.1903
Schade Brewery ca.1903

In the Fall of 1933, a group of local venture capitalists established a corporation with express purpose of purchasing unspecified investment property. On 21 November, it was announced that Mutual Realty had purchased the Shade Brewery property, and on 10 December, 1933, Mutual Realty, Inc. became Golden Age Breweries, Inc.

One of the Mutual Realty group was Morris Rosauer, the general manager of Spokane Brewing & Malting, who had no doubt been enticed with profit sharing and stock options to "jump ship". It was an offer he couldn't refuse. So on December 1st, nine days prior to the announcement of the purchase of the Shade Brewery, Morris left Spokane B&M to become vice-president and general manager of the Golden Age Brewery.

Morris had to now oversee a complete installation of a new plant, which was to be completely state-of-the-art equipment. In April of 1934, he announced that the Brewery would be ready to market more than 10,000 barrels of three-month aged Golden Age beer by June 10th.

First Golden Age beer labelHe almost made it. Sales of Golden Age began on June 15, 1934, and it was available either on draught (draft), or in 22 ounce bottles. This was a popular size used prior to Prohibition, and many of Washington's brewers¹ used this bottle.

This label (copyright 1933) was on the first bottles - click to enlarge. The label is unique in that the top half of the design is a stylized representation of the brewery's destinctive architechure. Later they simplified the design and made it the Brewery's logo - as shown at the top of the page.

Golden Age Select Nov. 1934Sales were excellent for all of their beer and in November of '34, just five months after their initial release, they introduced Golden Age Select, also in the 22 oz. bottle.  Subsequent sales were so overwhelming that just a year later expenditures were allocated to double the plant's output.

Another pre-Prohibition practice was taking draft beer home from the saloon in a covered pail called a "growler", and in June of 1935, Morris accommodated this practice by offering 22 oz. bottles of unpasteurized draft beer. Golden Age Draft unpasturized beer lableThe label carried this warning: "Must be kept cool / UNPASTEURIZED". Since less than 25% of housholds had refrigerators, and ice boxes weren't high capacity, it's clear that most didn't follow the label's instructions and the beer spoiled. Consequently, the brewery discontinued their unpasteurized beer and began offering a pasteurized product instead. Handling instructions were no longer needed!

Most of the NW breweries also attempted to market half-gallon jugs of unpasturized beer. All of them were unsucessful and they returned to pasturizing their product.

Golden Age figural half-gallon jugAgain showing a flare for marketing Morris offered the now pasturized draft beer in half gallon jugs, but not ordinary jugs. These were specially made in in the form of a barrel with an oval flat spot on the back for the label. Unlike the 22 oz. bottles, these required a deposit to insure that  they were returned so they could be refilled. Unfortunately, they were greatly admired and usually not returned. So this destinctive container was retired in favor of a plain, and less expensive, half gallon jug. The only other brewery to use an embossed figural jug was the Globe Brewing Co. of San Francisco.

Once more, Morris was quick to adapt to marketing trends, and on November 1st of 1936, Golden Age was the first brewery in the region (the Inland Empire) to offer canned beer in a cap-sealed can. Exactly a year later, Golden Age was the first brewery in Washington State to offer their beer in a quart size, cap-sealed (aka cone-top) can.

Drawing on his early training on English style ales while in London, Morris introduced Golden Age Ale. The brand was short lived, and strangely he didn't produce another top-fermenting ale for the rest of his career.

 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

GOLDEN AGE BREWERIANA


Golden Age TOC sign with slogan
Tin-over-cardboard sign with 1945 slogan

 

Golden Age Beer R.O.G. cconvex lens
Lighted, reverse-on-glass painted, convex glass lens -
17 ins. overall diameter.

Golden Age Beer, ball tap knob, black body Golden Age Beer, ball tap knob, light blue body
early ball tap knob later version knob


Golden Age beer matt or coasster
1st beer matt, or coaster

 

FOOTNOTES:

   ¹ The following are some of the breweries that adopted the 22 oz. size bottles: Horluck's, Apex, Hemrich's, Columbia's Alt Heidelberg, and Century's Rheinlander.

   ² The
 
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GOLDEN AGE COLLECTIBLES FOR SALE

Golden Age figural jug Half-gal. figural jug - Go to: BOTTLES
   

 

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