Star Brewery, Vancouver, WA - image

History of the Star Brewery (1890-1915)
and its successors:

Star Brewery Co. Inc. (1933-1939)
Interstate Brewery Co. (1939-1950)
Lucky Lager Brewing Co. (1950-1985)

The Star Brewery was a successor to one of the earliest brewing enterprises in the Washington Territory. It was originally John Muench's Vancouver Brewery, established in 1856, near Fort Vancouver. A young, immigrant brewer from Germany, Henry Weinhard, joined Muench for about six months and then went across the river to a settlement that would eventually become the city of Portland. Here he started his own brewery, but the settlement was growing too slowly, and he shut down his brewery and returned to Fort Vancouver. In 1859, Weinhard bought the Vancouver Brewery from Muench.

Weinhard operated the brewery for about three years, selling out to Anton Young in 1862, and returned to Portland were he built a successful brewing enterprise.

In 1867, Young relocated the Vancouver Brewery to a more convenient location near Vancouver's public square and operated the business for an additional 27 years.

Sometime before 1890, Anton Young changed the name of the plant to the Star Brewery, as can be seen from the 1890 Portland City Directory (below).

Star Brewery ad, ca.1890

As can also be seen in the ad, Young had two partners in the brewery, Anton Huth, and Henry Mockel. Huth left Vancouver in 1888 for Tacoma, where he and John Scholl established the Puget Sound Brewery. So, Huth must have kept an interest in Young & Co. to remain listed as a partner.

Henry Mockel joined the group in 1880, and in '86 he married Huth's sister, Margaret. When the Star Brewery was sold in '94, Mockel managed one of the brewery's saloons, but when Margaret died in 1907, he relocated to Tacoma and became associated with his brother-in-law's Puget Sound Brewery.

In 1894, Young retired, and sold the company to Louis Gerlinger, who formally changed the name of the company to the Star Brewery, and three years later to the Star Brewery Company. Gerlinger may have been the one who introduced the "Hop Gold" brand, since its use hasn't been documented before the late 1890s.

The brand was in use in Sept. 1898, when 330 cases of "Hop Gold" beer were shipped to their agent in the Philippines, on receipt of news that Commodore Dewey had destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Bay of Manila.

Dewey's flagship was the USS Olympia, so the town of Olympia chipped in and had the Capital Brewing Co. ship six barrels packed with bottled "Olympia Excelsior" beer to Dewey and his crew.

In 1904, the Star Brewery Co. was purchased by the Northern Brewery Company, but they continued to refer to the plant as the Star Brewery, and carried on with the popular "Hop Gold Export Beer." Since the much larger city of Portland was their primary market, they introduced a "Rose City Special Beer" - as Portland was (and still is) know as the "Rose city".

Star Brewery beer tray, ca.1905
beer tray ca.1905


Star Brewery Company, Inc. (1933-1939)

Star Brewery Co. ltrhd ca.1933
Star Brewery Letterhead, ca.1933

The Star Brewery was shuttered with the onset of state-wide Prohibition in 1915 and didn't produce any products during nationa Prohibition (1920-1933). In August of '33, a group of Portland investors purchased the plant  and began a major overhaul. They were able to begin brewing by October, and when the 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5th (allowing full strength beer again) they re-introduced Hop Gold Beer with the slogan: "Fond Memories of Old."


Hop Gold r.o.g. beer sign
Hop Gold reverse-on-glass beer sign, c.1934

Hop Gold Beer label June 1937 - image


Interstate Brewery Co. (1939-1950)

Lucky Lager Extra Dry beer label - image
Lucky Lager label, Vancouver, c.1945

For short history on the Vancouver branch see Lucky Lager, Vancouver.

Lucky Lager Brg. Co. ltrhd. Vancouver, 1957
Lucky Lager letterhead, ca.1957

Lucky Lager Brewing Co. (1950-1985)

Lucky Lager plant, Vancouver, WA



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  • Thanks to Mike Magnussen for the image of the Star Brewery beer tray.
  • And to John Allen for the 1933 Star Brewery leterhead.


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