Seattle Malting & Brewing – Rainier Beer Roots

Last weekend I went to an estate sale published to be in the Old Rainier Brewery.  I went to this sale just because I wanted to investigate the old Georgetown brewing buildings.   They are that old red brick kind that go for blocks along Airport Way. I have memories of my mom going downtown before the freeway along this street and using it for years as a quick route north.  It was at one point 885 feet of old building right next to a two lane road.  It gave me childhood wonder of old things and history every time we went by.

I found after I drove around the buildings twice that the sale was in the next generation Rainier Brewery that was further north.  That is the building that many of us in Seattle know from the Big R on top of it beside the I-5 Freeway. In the end the sale was good because I found a couple of Worlds Fair items that were not advertised and even under priced.

However, today’s article is about the first brewery I went to, the Seattle Malting and Brewing Company. This was the roots of Rainier Beer and a huge operation in its day.


According to History Link.Org and Paul Dorpat these buildings were built around 1900. The brewery by 1904 was the largest brewery west of the Mississippi River and with addition upon addition through 1912 it became “world class” – the sixth largest in the world. For a time before Washington State introduced prohibition in 1916, the Georgetown brewery was the largest industrial establishment in the state of Washington.  Here is a link to read a little bit more on the brewery and a picture taken by Asahel Curtis when it was still a new building.


This photo shows how the area has been revitalized with new businesses.  The Frans candy company has a lovely boutique type sales area with manufacturing behind it.  I saw a small box for sale at the grocery store later that day and we loved the salted caramels.


This next photo is a good past and present.  See the old buildings embellishments next to a modern times outdoor light.   Even that light isn’t that new but in comparison it is a late comer.


The back of any place has some dirty underwear showing.  Check out the over 100-year-old stairway with a ladder for easy access.

Hope you enjoyed a little Seattle history.




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