Yakima Beer label - header

History of the North Yakima Brewing and Malting Company (1905-1915)
The Yakima Brewing & Bottling Company (1933-1939)
Yakima Brewing & Malting (1982-1990)

In July of 1889 the Yakima Hearld published this item:

"The Schlodtfeldt Bros., who own a brewery at Ellensburg and another at Roslyn, have under contemplation the moving of one of these plants to Yakima. What Yakima wants, in this line, if it wants anything, is a first-class establishment that will be able to compete in the quality of its product with anything in the market. We have the water, hops and barley, and all that is now needed is a first-class brewer and improved machinery. The establishment of some antediluvian plant here will only result in delaying the building of a brewery which would prove of commercial advantage."

It would take more than 15 years for their plan to be realized, but the Schlodtfeldt brothers finally got their Yakima brewery. The following is an excerpt from Ellen Allmendinger's "Hidden History of Yakima" - published in 2018 by The History Press:

"In the fall of 1904, the North Yakima Brewing & Malting Company purchased the Switzer Opera House building. The company had four partners at the time of purchase: brothers John Schlotfeldt and Herman Schlotfeldt, John P. Clerf and C.R. Oppenlander. The Schlotfeldt brothers were already business owners in the state. John owned the Roslyn Brewing & Malting Company in Roslyn, Washington, and Herman ran the Schlotfeldt Brothers Company in Port Townsend, Washington. Both brothers resided in Ellensburg at the time of the Switzer Opera House purchase. John Clerf was also residing in Ellensburg, while the fourth partner, C.R. Oppenlander, lived in Roslyn at the time.

After purchasing the building, the partners spent $40,000 remodeling to accommodate their brewery. The projected annual output was twenty thousand barrels. To meet the expected quantities, they built an addition on the back of the building. Work was completed approximately one year later. When it opened, it was one of, if not the biggest, breweries in the state."
post card of No. Yakima Brg. & Mltg plant

The company's flagship brand was "Yakima Beer", but they also made "N-Yak" Beer. Their bottle labels described "N-Yak" as an "Extra Pale, Special Brew".

Yakima Beer hop leaf tray N-Yak Beer tray from the No. Yakima B&MCo.

They also made a "Pilsner type Lager", which when bottled carried a label that strongly resembled the "Budweiser" label. The company also promoted their "Old Style Lager" in newspaper ads.

1911 City Directory ad 1911 City Directory ad

Another product introduced by the brewery was a non-alcoholic soft drink called "Yakima Foam". The label indicated that the drink contained less than 2% alcohol, but in July of 1910, the state chemist disagreed. He found that it contained 2.95% alcohol, and non-licensed drink dispensers would face prosecution for selling the product.

Almost three years later, in April of 1913, Sheriff Metzger was quoted: "Yakima Foam is tabooed here at soft drink dispensers - it has too much Kick!"

It appears that no one was worried about repercussions from selling this Hard Soda.  

More from the Hidden History of Yakima:

"The North Yakima Brewing & Malting Company was prosperous, but it did experience a few hitches along the way. It employed both union and nonunion workers at the brewery; soon, the length of the workday became an issue. To resolve the issue, a union whistle was installed to go off at 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., indicating the beginning and end of an eight-hour shift.

In 1908, the company purchased the Sinclair Ice Company in North Yakima for $10,000. It intended to spend another $50,000 modifying the ice company's building into a malting and bottling plant. The partners also planned on investing $40,000 on business improvements and expansions. However, all plans for the North Yakima Brewing & Malting Company's expansions halted in February 1908 with the threat of the city going dry.

The City did not go dry in 1908, and business for the brewery continued to be successful. In 1909, it added a corrugated iron building to the back of the opera house to use as a storage area for its beer. This was a necessary addition, considering the firm was shipping beer to various locations away from the city and was supplying between one-half and three-quarters of the saloons in the city with beer.

The North Yakima Brewing & Malting Company continued to operate; by 1911, it managed to have a monopoly on the sale of beer in the city. In October, Mayor Andrew Splawn declared that outside breweries in Seattle and Tacoma shouldn't be allowed to sell their product in North Yakima and only those breweries existing in the city should have products sold in the city's saloons.

Three years later, with continuing threats of prohibition, other breweries in the state were considering relocating to California. The owners of the North Yakima Brewing & Malting Company were planning on staying in business until prohibition occurred and then converting their business into a fruit by-products company. Their theory was that thousands of tons of and producing grape juice, canned and evaporated fruit, vinegar and other products. It was a great plan in theory, but it never came to fruition.

On January 1, 1916, when prohibition became law, the brewery had not switched to a fruit by-products plant. Instead, it closed. With the company's departure from the building, other activities and businesses would soon fill the space. In 1919, the building served as a location for the gathering, staging and sorting of various goods to be shipped overseas. The operation was part of a World War I relief program."
The Switzer Opera House building would again be home to a brewery, but not for another 63 years.  

Yakima Brewing & Bottling Company (1933-1939)

With the end of Prohibition all but certain, there was the problem of not enough breweries able to readily resume operations. This presented a business opportunity for those looking for a sure thing.

In October of 1932, the proprietor of the Yakima Bottling Works was arrested for manufacturing and selling beer. This event may have prompted Francis "Frank" Ulrich Noel to purchase this bottling works in early 1933. The 13 year old plant was located at 920 Fenton St. and had already proven that it could serve as a brewery, and with the able support of his two sons, John and Fred, the venture looked promising.

On the 23rd of August, 1933, Frank Noel had a City license to sell beer, and he commenced brewing under IRS permit number, Wash. U-1210.

Frank Noel Brewing License

In their first year of operation the Noels secured a contract with Pepsie-Cola to be their regional bottler. With this account they could have abandoned brewing all together, and the initial demand for beer would have been a challelnge. In spite of that, to serve their local population, they carried on. There is no indication that they serviced accounts out of their immediate area.

To honor the history of the region they chose "Yako Chief Beer" which was introduced with a green and pink label. They also produced a "Rheingold Lager Beer", both of which had a 4% alcoho content. After Dec. of '33 Prohibition was total repealed and they could now produce beer at pre-Prohibition levels. The brewery then added more color to the Yako Beer label and added more strength to its beer.

Yako Beer 4% Rheingold Lager Beer from Yakima

Yako Chief Beer label

The brewing activity may have been religated to a secondary function since they didn't seem to pursue any additional business through print or point-of-sale advertising. I have yet to find any signs or other promotional items from this brewery.

On 12 March, 1939, after just six years in business, the plant and its brewing division was purchased by Paul Meyer for $40,000. He then established Yakima Breweries, Inc. with plans to produce 50 barrels per day. I can't confirm that any beer was ever placed on the market by this start-up company.

At that time of the sale, Frank Noel and sons, announced their intention to build a new soda bottling plant at a cost of $14,000 (about $300,000 today). The new Yakima Bottling Works was soon finished and the Noels were again bottling Pepsie as well as three other national brands of soft drinks.

Yakima Bottling works contracts for 1941

The family has continued bottling Pepsie to this day. A true success story!



Yakima Brewing & Malting Company (1982-1995)

In July of 1982, Herbert Bert Grant, a Scottish-born brewer, opened a brewery in the Switzer Opera House building. He named his company the Yakima Brewing & Malting Company, but it was also known as Grant's Pub & Brewery. This was the first Brew-Pub to open after Prohibition. Grant ran his business from the Switzer Opera House building before expanding into the old city hall and then across North Front Street to the old passenger train depot.

Grant's Real Ales


Bert Grant was best known for his Scottish Ale, Imperial Stout, Celtic Ale, and other hop-forward brews. In 1995, Grant sold his brewery to Stimson Lane Ltd., the maker of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.


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Three beer glasses from No. Yakima B&MCo.
three glasses from No. Yakima B&MCo.

Three No. Yakima B&MCo. crown top beer bottles.
Quart, pint & half-pint, crown top beer bottles

"Monarch of the Glen" beer tray from No. Yakima B&MCo.
Beer tray with stock image #77 from American Art Works


Yakima Pilsner Beer, copper sign
5¾ x 16½ thin (oxidized) brass sign - from the Michael Magnussen collection


  • Thanks to Ellen Allmendinger for allowing me to use the excerpt from her book, Hidden History of Yakima.


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