Pre-Prohibition Beer Mugs & Steins from West Coast Breweries

Three Olympia Brewing Co. steins

While there was no shortage of breweries in the Pacific Northwest prior to Prohibition, not many of them issued advertising mugs or steins. California had four more years of operation than Washington and Oregon, yet their breweries didn’t issue many either. Of the examples shown here, and including the variations not shown, they number less than sixty.  However, I hope that response to this article results in additions to the list.

Before beginning this discussion on mugs and steins, an explanation of the terminology may be helpful. Through common usage it's understood that a stein has a lid, and a mug does not. However, a stein may have lost its lid or was issued without one - as is often the case, but it's still a stein. I've read learned opinions on this issue and am none the wiser. The Bellingham Bay Brewery gave away unlidded mugs for promotions, yet their 1906 ad referred to them as steins! So as not quibble over semantics, for the purpose of this discussion I'll go along with steins have lids and mugs don't.

Milwaukee Brg. Co. stein Tacoma, ca.1891With the exception of the pieces made by Mettlach it’s difficult to establish age, so the operating years of the breweries and their promotional campaigns often gives useful clues. Such is the case with this first example. This 4½" tall mug is ca.1892, from the Milwaukee Brewing Co. of Tacoma (1891-1897). reverse of Milwaukee BC mug by Rochester Tumbler Co.

It's not known who made this "stone mug" but it was decorated by the Rochester Tumbler Company of Pittsburg, PA. While it isn't marked, another Milwaukee mug was found that had the company's promotional advertising on the reverse side. This was probably a sales stimulator made using graphics from a closed account.

Pacific Brewing & Malting stein by MettlachThe next piece is from the Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. of Tacoma (1897-1916),  successor to the Milwaukee Brewery mentioned above. This 0.4L, Mettlach mug is marked on the base with the manufacture date of 1895. This indicates that the Mettlachs were not necessarily issued on or near their date of manufacture, since Pacific Brewing & Malting was established two years after this was made. It appears that U.S. wholesalers purchased blanks (usually form no. 1909) from Mettlach and applied the “printed-under-glaze” (PUG) designs when needed.

Columbia Brew stein from Tacoma c.1921Another mug from Tacoma is this "Columbia Brew" from the Columbia Brewing Co. This was a non-alcoholic brand of near-beer introduced in 1921. These beverages were not allowed to be called "Beer," but instead were referred to as a "Brew." During State-wide Prohibition, from 1916-1921 the brewery was operating as the Columbia Bottling Co. Then in 1921 it was sold and resumed operation as the Columbia Brewing Co.

Everett stein by mettlachMettlach manufactured two mugs for the Everett Brewing Company (1904-1915). The base of this ¼L, "factory scene," PUG is dated 1910. The other Mettlach (not shown) was just a larger capacity stein with the same graphics.

Lidded stein from Everett
The brewery also issued at least three lidded steins inscribed with, “Compliments of the Everett Brewing Company.” This 0.5L example has a 2” kick-up bottom¹, made by the Westerwald firm of Rossroof & Gerz.  The other two I'm aware of include another 0.5L stein, and a smaller example without the kick-up.

Seattle Brewing & Malting Mettlach stein 500pxThe Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. (SB&M) was established in 1893, and the mug shown here is the earliest of six different mugs issued by the brewery. It doesn’t mention “Rainier Beer”- which was about to be adopted as their flagship brand. This 0.4L example, ca.1895, was made in Germany and stands 4⅜" tall. The decoration was applied by the Albert Pick Co. of Chicago. There is also a slightly shorter example of this mug. (below - for sale)

1903 Rainier beer stein by DiesingerSB&M's second issue was a ¼L, “Rainier Beer” mug made by Adolf Diesinger of Höhr, Westerwald, Germany. One side panel of the mug displays a figure of a waiter holding two bottles. This figure was introduced in SB&M's Aug. 1902 advertising, so I’ve dated the mug, ca.1902. Interestingly, the other side panel depicts the iconic German figure of the Munich Child sitting on a Rainier cask and holding the traditional beer mug and radishes. It's an odd choice since SB&M didn't use the Munich Child in any of its advertising. There is one other variation of this Diesinger mug that's also in my collection. 

Rainier "Good Judge" stein by DiesingerThe above mug was soon replaced by another ¼L Diesinger (#R-25) that depicted a wigged figure with the phrase, "A good Judge Knows - Rainier.”  This ad campaign was introduced by the brewery in Aug. 1903, and the familiar “Judge” mug soon followed. There are at least three variations of this mug that I’m aware of, and differences are primarily with the decorative frieze band below the rim. This British, wigged barister was not used in any other advertising, but the phrase was.

For more on this and the previous Rainier mug - go to my article: "Tale of Two Diesingers"

Rainier Beer stein from Honolulu, ca.1906The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) is a fraternal organization that has had a friendly relationship with the breweries, and this "Time to Drink Rainier Beer" mug is a prime example. It was decorated by the Thuemler Mfg. Co., ca.1906. The brewery provided these presentation pieces for Honolulu Elks Lodge leader, Col. C. J. McCarthy (who was to become the 5th Governor of Hawaii). He also operated a Hotel District saloon called the Criterion, which was the first to offer Rainier Beer in May of 1895.

Seattle Brewing & Malting brewery ca.1907Seattle Brewing & Malting factory scene steinAnother SB&M mug is ca.1907 and is a "factory scene" - albeit a mythical one. This image appeared in a 1907, monthly periodical in a Rainier Beer advertisement. Everything behind the front row of buildings never existed, it was merely artistic license. I've included the original ad to better show the mug's image.

Rainier Beer stein, ca.1908Another SB&M mug was issued ca.1907, and has most often been found in San Francisco, but in Seattle as well. This leads me to believe that it was issued, when “Rainier Beer” made serious inroads into the S.F. market following the fire and earthquake of 1906. The base is marked with the numeral 10, which is a 10 oz. capacity mark. The mug was most likely manufactured by the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore, and decorated by Thuemler.

No. Pacific Brewing Co. blue stein from AstoriaNo. Pacific Brewing Co. maroon stein from AstoriaThe North Pacific Brewing Co. of Astoria, Oregon (1902-1916) issued these PUG mugs in three colors that I know of - blue & maroon (shown), plus green. They were issued sometime after 1902, when the North Pacific’s name changed from “Brewery Co.” to “Brewing Co.” These mugs are likey Bennett Pottery products.

North Pacific also had a Seattle connection, in that the brewery’s founder, John Kopp, was a partner with Alvin Hemrich in 1883, when the two established the Bayview Brewery which would merge with two other breweries ten years later in forming Seattle Brewing & Malting. In 1884, Kopp sold his share and moved to Astoria where he established his own brewery.

Mt. Hood Brewery stein
Of the few Oregon breweries that issued mugs, one was Portland's Mt. Hood Brewing Co. (1905-1913).  I don't have any specifics on this piece as yet.

Pacific Brewery stein from Baker City, Ore.
German brewer, Henry Rust, operated his Pacific Brewery in Backer City from 1874 to August of 1902. Adjacent to the brewery was his saloon and opera house called Rust's Hall. This 0.4L mug by the Mettlach factory of Villroy & Boch is ca.1897, and was imported and decorated by Albert Pick & Co. of Chicago. It was no doubt used in his saloon business.


Aug. Buchler Mettlach stein ca.1896This Aug. Buchler is a 0.3L mug made by Mettlach ca.1896. August Buchler purchased the Columbia Brewery in The Dalles, in April 1877. Since "Columbia Brewery" is not on the piece, it's believed that it was one of a set intended for Buchler's personal use. Upon receiving them I'm sure he was annoyed that The Dalles was misspelled, "The Dallas." In February 1905, Buchler sold the brewery and it was incorporated as the Eastern Oregon Brewing Co.

H. Weinhard stein ca.1918The Henry Weinhard Brewery of Portland (1862-1928) was Oregon’s largest brewery. They issued at least four mugs, this one in light gray for general distribution in Portland. It only has "H. Weinhard" on the front, which was sufficient information for the local market. It's similar in color and font to a jug advertising: "Pure Apple Cider - Henry Weinhard" - which would suggest that both the jug and stein are ca.1918 which was during state-wide Prohibition when the brewery was producing near-beer.

The next two mugs were for distribution at major expositions, and the last was for a San Francisco restaurant.H. Weinhard stein from Portland, ca.1905
The brown, 0.3L mug was believed to have been issued in 1905, for the 4½ month long,  Lewis and Clark Exposition held in Portland. It has has a base mark 30, which matches form no.30 used by Marzi & Remy, plus the handle is consistent with their mugs. (below - for sale)

Weinhard's "1915" steinThe next was a distinctive, 8 oz., barrel shaped mug for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The Expo ran from February 1915 to December 1915, and the Expo’s German restaurant, Alt Nurnberg, was able to offer “Weinhard’s Special Exposition Beer” right up to the close of the fair. Oregon’s state-wide prohibition was to take effect on January 1st, 1916, so the Portland brewery just managed to fill the Expo's demand.   

Weinhard's Rheingold Beer stein for the Hof Brau Cafe, SFAfter the brewery ceased production of full strength beer, their S.F. agency, now doing business as the Henry Weinhard Brewery, contracted for the production of beer and handled its distribution. It’s not known who made their beer but the agency continued supplying "Rheingold Beer" to their accounts, including the Hof-Bräu Café. The agency had this mug made for the Café that promoted the establishment as well as their beer. The base is marked with the numeral 8, which is an 8 oz. capacity mark. The mug was most likely manufactured by the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore.


New Louvre beer stein for Wieland's Extra Pale

Another San Francisco brewer issued a mug which also promoted both the brewery and the purveyor, as shown with this example for the "New Louvre," citing their "Wieland's Extra Pale." The New louvre Cafe was a restaurant & cafe that opened on O'Farrell St. in 1891 and closed in 1899.

Olympia Beer stein, ca.1898Leopold Schmidt was a prominent, Northwest brewer who issued seven different mugs & steins from four of his five breweries. In 1896, he established the Capital Brewing Co. in Tumwater, Wash. This "Olympia Beer" stein, ca.1898, was the most decorative of all his steins². The 0.5L example was made by Marzie & Remy in Höhr, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia. In 1902 the Capital Brg. Co. changed its name to the Olympia Brewing Co.

This stein was reproduced by the brewery in the ‘70s and '80s, and now the hand painted original is often dismissed as a reproduction.

Three Schmidt steins ca. 1904In Dec. 1902, construction was completed on Schmidt's Bellingham Bay Brewery, and in June 1903, he purchased the Salem Brewery. So, Schmidt’s soon issued a matched set of three steins. The Schmidt family confirmed³ that it was in 1904 that a German firm was commissioned to produce the set commemorating his three breweries. Other collectors suggested that the three steins were ca.1907, but that doesn’t take into account that by then his Acme Brewing Co. was in operation, and would have joined the three others for a set of four. There are no markings on these three steins, but the fine hand-painted work suggests that they were done in Germany. This Olympia stein, like the afore mentioned version, was also reproduced in the ‘70s, buy a number of makers. One of which has "1904" in gold, printed on the base, and is sometimes mistaken for an original.

3-B mug of monk reading newspaper3-B mug of monk eatingSchmidt's Bellingham Bay Brewery also gave away inexpensive sets consisting of six pottery mugs and a matching pitcher [not shown]. The sets came in gray, brown, and green, and depicted monks engaged in various activities. They were labeled “Compliments of the Bellingham Bay Brewery” in small gold print near the base of each piece. (below - for sale)

Another series of cheaply made mugs were made of milk glass that was painted to look like pottery with "3-B-Beer" painted in black near the base. The images were usually of monks, but in different poses then those in the pottery sets. There is also a version depicting a stag's head. I'm aware of four variations of these milk glass mugs that were issued as singles rather than sets.

Olympia Beer stein, ca.1905, San FranciscoBy 1904, Leopold Schmidt had established a bottling works and agency for his Olympia Beer in San Francisco. The Olympia Beer Co. issued this mug for the local market, ca.1905. The stein is consistant with those manufactured by the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore, and decorated by Thuemler.

After the 1906 fire and earthquake, and the subsequent loss of many local breweries, Schmidt decided to build a brewery there to better meet the demand for his beer. 

Acme Brewing Co. stein by Mettlach ca.1907Schmidt's Acme Brewing Co. was opened in April of 1907, and that year this 0.3L stein by Mettlach was issued. As with the Pacific Brewing & Malting stein (above) the Acme was decorated and distributed well after its inscribed 1904 manufacture date.  Once Acme Beer had gained acceptance, Schmidt scaled back the distribution of Olympia Beer in the SF Bay Area market in deference to his Acme brand.

Another Acme mug was this 5" tall example with silver striping, ca.1909, produced by Thomas Maddock’s Sons Co., Trenton, N.J. The shape was influenced by Art Nouveau, which gave it a decidedly modern look. The "Home Product" reference was an attempt to distance Acme Beer from the saloon drinking crowd. (below - for sale)

Acme mini mug , Heidelberg Inn

The third Acme is a miniature (4¼" tall) ⅛L mug made for one of Acme’s tied houses, the Heidelberg Inn on Ellis St. It’s inscribed around the rim: “Acme Beer! Oh! So Good.”

Leopold Schmidt had a fifth brewery in Washington - the Port Townsend Brewing Co., but to my knowledge no mug or stein was ever produced for that brewery.

The last stein Schmidt came out with was in 1913 and had a 0.5L capacity. It was manufactured by Olympia Beer stein, ca.1914Simon Peter Gerz I (G.m.b.H.) of Höhr, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia (now Höhr-Grenzhausen, Rhineland-Palatinate). In May of 1913 Olympia updated their labels and promotional material with a new style font that appears on this stein, and is familiar even today. Unfortunately, in November of 1914, they learned that state-wide prohibition had been voted in, effective Jan. 1, 1916, leaving a mere thirteen months to liquidate their stock and either shut down or convert to other products.

Washington Pale Lager stein Seattle, ca.1913
This mug with the dollar bill image at first appears to be a novelty piece, but it was issued by Seattle's Washington Brewing Co. (1913-1915). This brewery had been established in 1902 as the Spellmire Brewing Co.

The Beer Barons of Washington and Oregon produced most of the western, pre-prohibition mugs & steins. I would have expected a larger number of these from the major breweries of California, especially San Francisco. 

Three views of Aug. Lang 0.5L factory steinOther than the few mentioned above, the only other S.F. steins that I’m aware of are from August Lang, a bottler of “Fredericksburg Beer” from 1886 to 1911. In 1911 he formed the Aug. Lang Brewing Association, and his flagship brand was Tivoli Lager. Maker's mark for Karl BuelerThe largest of his six steins is 0.5L, 6" tall (to the lip), showing his massive bottling works, ca.1910. The side panels depict bottles of Red Lion Stout and Tivoli Lager Beer.  The stein was produced by Matthais Grimscheid of Höhr, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia. The artist that designed the stein was Anton Killian Beuler, (mark at right).

There's a rarely seen variation of this stein that has a brown background and different upper and lower decorative bands.     

Three sizes of Aug. Lang steinsLang also gave away five steins with “Tivoli-A-Select-Lager” inscribed below their rims. The 2¾" tall miniature shows Red Riding Hood meeting the Wolf. The 4¼" tall, ⅛L stein is decorated in teal & brown (also comes in cobalt & brown), with a scene of man serenading his girlfriend. The 4⅞" tall, ¼L stein shows a tavern scene, and is done in cobalt and brown. This stein was made by J.W. Remy in the town of Höhr, near Coblenz.

Tivoli Lager 0.4L stein , Aug. Lang S.F. Tivoli stein with mounted huntsmanA pair of ¼L steins at a slightly shorter 4¾" are these ivory colored examples with a cobalt background and accents in brown. One depicts a hunter with his dog, and the other is of a horseman and his dogs in hot pursuit of a stag. The pair was made by another Höhr manufacturer, J.P. Thewalt.

All of Lang's steins were made in Germany, and it's not unusual to find them missing their lids, especially if they were used for drinking. The lids just got in the way and weren’t very sturdy to begin with.

San Diego Brewing Co. salt glase steinLos Angeles brewing Co. salt glaze stein
Southern California had a number of breweries, and the only two mugs from that area that I’m aware of are both salt glaze, "Flemish Stone Ware" pieces with cobalt coloring, made by Whites Pottery of Utica, NY. One example is from the San Diego Brewing Co. (1896-1907) and the other, with the eagle logo, is from the Los Angeles Brewing Co. (1897-1920).

Los Angeles Brewing Co. Mettlach beer jugsWhile they aren’t steins, these two lidded, Los Angeles Brewing Co. beer jugs by Mettlach, fall into this category of collecting. The date marking on both pieces is 1903. The numbered jug on the left was  purportedly issued to the brewery workers to draw their allotments of beer, which they consumed during the work day. The larger jug on the right, sometimes called a growler, was issued to saloons for takeout, much like the growlers of today and would have required a deposit. The tops of both lids are marked:  “This jug is not for sale, it is the property of the Los Angeles Brewing Co.  'Kuehnrich'  Phone East 82. U.S. Patent No. 572257.” Kuenrich refers to the president of the corporation, Paul Max Kuehnrich.

The topic of this piece is West Coast brewery mugs & steins. However, this mug comes from Spokane, an eastern Washington city Galland-Burke Brewing Co. stein by Mettlachlocated in what’s known as the ”Inland Empire” - nowhere near the West Coast - but I couldn’t bear to leave it out.

This mug came from the Galland-Burke Brewing Co. (1892-1902). It was made by Mettlach and has a date mark of 1896 on the base. I've been told of a variation of this mug with slightly different coloring, but have yet to confirm that.

Sierra Famous Beer stein from the Reno Brg. Co.Another mug worth mentioning isn't from the West Coast either, but it's still a nice western piece, ca.1908. It is inscribed (with a sgraffito technique) "Sierra Famous Beer." The Reno Brewing Company was established inReno Brg. Co. Inc. stein 1903, and Sierra was its flagship brand. There is a matching cobalt blue mug that is inscribed, "Reno Brewing Co. Inc." Begining in 1908, quarter-page ads appeared adding "Inc." to there name. While there is no manufacturer's mark on the base, the stein is attributed to the Edwin Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore. Bennett used this sgraffito technique on other cobalt pieces, and its mugs often have the figure of Gamrinus on the handle just like these.

While slightly off the subject of brewery mugs & steins, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on some of the interesting examples issued by the beer purveyors. The Hof-Bräu Café and New Louvre mugs (above) were both examples of brewery/purveyor mugs. But there were others that did not promote a specific brand of beer.

Hotel Butler/Anheuser-Busch stein by mettlachThis stein from Seattle's Hotel Butler, however, does promote a specific brewery - Anheuser-Busch. This ½L stein, by Mettlach (ca.1896) displays the famous Anheuser-Busch logo between, "Hotel Butler" and the proprietors' sur names, "Hamm & Schmitz." Dietrich Hamm and Ferdinand Schmitz, established the hotel in 1894. 

Hotel Butler stein by Mettlach - beer delivery
This "Hotel Butler" stein, by Mettlach (ca.1901), does not promote a specific brand or brewery, but rather promotes beer consumption in general. It depicts a delivery boy packing a keg of Pilsner beer - with invoice in hand. The partners sold the hotel in July of 1905 to brewer & capitalist, Edward F. Sweeney.

Hotel Savoy beer steinAnother Seattle hotel issued a number of mugs, one of which just illustrates the grandeur of the establishment. This was the Hotel Savoy which was built in 1906 by Edward F. Sweeney, who had just sold his major interest in the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company.

Hotel Savoy steins from Roseville Pottery - ..tion seriesSweeney also used this series of mugs, attributed to Roseville Pottery, but they bear no Roseville marks. The set consists of twelve pieces, and possibly more, each with a different word ending in "..tion" - specifically:  Anticipation, Acceleration, Celebration, Exasperation, Expectation, Inspiration, Limitation, Lubrication, Meditation, Recreation, Renunciation, and Vacation. All had different images of folks enjoying beer - in keeping with the key word. I don't believe the Savoy used the complete set, but I can't be sure.

Goetz & Baer - Mettlach stein from SpokaneThis stein comes from a Spokane hotel, built in 1894 by Jacob Goetz (aka "Dutch Jake") and Harry F. Baer. This 0.4L Mettlach stein (ca.1897) merely shows the proprietors' sur names, city, and state, with no indication that it's from their opulent Coeur d'Alene Hotel, which was also home to a theatre, a dance hall, and Turkish bath. However, the main attraction was the large saloon with multiple bars, and lunch counters, plus gambling activities such as Keno, Roulette, Faro and Stud Poker.

There is also a smaller, 0.2L version of this Goetz & Baer stein.

NOTE: Harry Goetz (the son of “Dutch Jake” Goetz) opened the Goetz brewery in 1933 with partner Emil Sick, and three years later merged with Spokane Brewing and Malting Co.

B&M stein from SpokaneThe last mug is a mystery. It merely gives the initials of the proprietors (?) on an image of a tamale (?) and the establishment's location. In addition to the one shown here there's another example in dark blue. It has been suggested that it's from Spokane Brewing & Malting, but if so, I'm baffled by the image.

B&M Tamale Grotto of Spokane, 1916 ad
UPDATE: Scott Frischer has provided the answer to this mystery. It's not from a brewery, and that is a tamale. The mug was issued by the B&M Tamale Grotto of Seattle - with a branch in Spokane. They operated from 1909 to about 1925.


To the stein collecting community, most of these examples are not highly prized, nor particularly valuable. However, that's not true for collectors of Western breweriana. To this group, many of these items are of great interest and represent a real challenge to obtain.

Not all of these examples are in my collection, so if you have one you're parting with - please let me know.



¹  The 0.5L Everett stein was made in Germany by Rossroof & Gerz (mold no. 308). In 1907 Eckhardt & Engler took over the marketing of Rossroof & Gerz's production. The scene of the women listening to the guitar player is #520, on pg. 12 of the Eckhardt & Engler catalog.

²  The tall, pre-prohibition, Olympia Beer stein is Marzi & Remy mold No. 1660. The translation of the two sayings on the sides of the stein is: "Don't fear and save where you could - Drink instead when it tastes good!"

³   In a letter from the Olympia Brewing Company, dated Dec. 30, 1972,  Trueman Leopold Schmidt, vice-president of the company and grand-son of the founder, confirmed that the stein was made in Germany in 1904.

⁴  The ¼L Tivoli stein with the tavern scene (no. 615) is shown on pg. 34 of the J.W. Remy catalog.

⁵  The pair of J.P. Thewalt steins are catalog numbers 1057 and 1058; for the Hunter with rifle, and the Horseman and stag respectively.

This was referred to as a kannen mit patentverschluss which translates to: "a jug (or Flagon) with patented lock." The U.S. patent 572257 was issued on Dec. 1, 1896.


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Rainier Mug for sale on BreweryGems   
Acme Brewing Co. stein
H. Weinhard beer stein c.1905  3-B mug with monk tapping a keg  Aug. Lang & Co. stein SF c.1910 These Pre-Prohibition steins are available - go to: STEINS


  • Thank you to Dr. Tom Jacobs for the image of his San Diego Brewing stein.

  • To Mark Morehead for the 1918 "H. Weinhard" stein.

  • To the "Prosit" magazine for the image of the New Louvre stein that appeared in the Sept 2010 issue.

  • To Michael Wood for his translation of the saying on the tall Olympia stein.

  • And to Marc Geyer (Lynn Geyer's Auctions) for the North Pacific Brewing stein in red.


For any comments, additions, or corrections -
or for brewery collectibles you wish to sell - please
contact me:
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