MOUNTAIN FRESH BEER SINCE 1878
THE BEER THAT
NAMED THE MOUNTAIN
Not really! Rainier was born in Seattle in 1878 before the state of Washington was even a state, but well after Mount Rainier was renamed by Captain George Vancouver from it’s original Native American name Tahoma.
Our founder, Andrew Hemrich, was a first generation German from a long line of brewmasters. Following in his father’s footsteps, he built the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company. Today we know it as the Rainier Brewing Company, named after the majestic mountain overlooking Andrew Hemrich’s new hometown.
Throughout the 1900s, Rainier became a regional powerhouse in the West Coast beer world. In 1954, the iconic Rainier “R” sign was raised above the brewery and became a landmark of the Seattle skyline. However, with Rainier’s huge success in the mid-1900s and a changing of the guard, brewing operations were moved away from Seattle, and that iconic “R” sign eventually went dark. Seattle was still the Rainier stronghold it always was, but the spirit of Rainier was weakened.
But if prohibition couldn’t keep Rainier down, nothing else could. Rainier joined forces with Pabst and recommitted to its homeland in the 2000s and once again, the iconic “R” sign lit up the skyline. The reinvigorated spirit of Rainier was welcomed home with open arms and it tasted fresher than ever. To this day, Rainier continues to be a symbol of home and happiness for millions living the Pacific Northwest lifestyle.
The Rainier Story is one of a pioneer city and an entrepreneurial family of legendary proportions. Seattle, the major metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, grew up fast as a center of the lumber and fishing industries. The loggers and fishermen grew thirsty and the brewing industry naturally followed. A.B. Rabbeson started Seattle’s first commercial brewing, Washington Brewery.
Rabbeson’s establishment became the Seattle Brewery in 1872, which survived until 1888.
In 1878 Rainier Beer was introduced – 11 years before Washington became a state. The brand name became so ubiquitous, that many people once subscribed to the urban legend that the snowcapped 14,410-foot mountain visible from Seattle was named after the beer.
In 1883, John Kopp and Andrew Hemrich, founders of Seattle Brewing and Malting, acquired Rabbeson’s brewery, and with it, Rainier Beer
Prohibition passed in Washington state and the original Rainier Brewery closed and production moved to California for a time until Prohibition became national and then production moved to Canada until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. *Photo provided by Washington Historical Society
When Prohibition ended in the United States in 1933, Fritz and Emil Sick came south to acquire Seattle Brewing and Malting, which had not yet resumed production of beer. The Rainier brand name was proudly re-launched.
Although the Sick empire had all but disappeared by the end of the 1960s, the 1970s brought forth decades of humorous Rainier advertising. The most memorable include the Grazing Rainiers, the original “Rainier Beer” croaking frogs, the “Rainier Beer” revving motorcycles, and pop culture parodies including early commercials featuring Mickey Rooney as a singing Mountie.
To celebrate and reaffirm our commitment to Rainier heritage, the classic design elements of past Jubilee Cans were brought back this holiday season with updated slogans, colors, and typography to tip our hats to the cans of decades-past. The original “R” sat perched on the brewery for nearly 50 years, lighting the Seattle sky and serving as a warm welcome to those entering the city via I-5. On October 24th, after a 13-year absence, the “R” was restored and placed looking back over Seattle, where it belongs. We celebrate the return of the Rainier “R”, Rainier Brewing Company and our rich heritage in the Pacific Northwest annually each October.
Rainier introduced Rainier Pale Mountain Ale, its first new beer in 20 years. Inspired by pale ales made by Rainier Brewing Company just after Prohibition, Rainier Pale Mountain Ale was handcrafted with two-row barley to provide a solid malt backbone and hopped with Washington-grown hops. The ale was well balanced with a crisp, citrus finish and was offered in a unique 16-oz. bottle in six packs, and on draught.
In 2017 Old school met new school, capital R met little r in the first ever collaboration beer in Rainier’s long history. Inspired by traditional German-style pilsners with a northwest twist. The solid pilsner base provided the foundation for a soft, fruity, honeydew melon hop profile. Rainier’s long tradition of lager expertise paired with Reuben’s Brews hop forward experience made this a hoppy pilsner that was refreshing as some good ol’ r&R. Since opening in 2012, Reuben’s Brews has won awards for its beers around the world including at the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup, the US Open and was named Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year at the 2015 Washington Beer Awards
Rainier Radler. A light-bodied lager brewed with lemon zest and orange peel, it is a refreshing, citrusy beer with a dry finish. Inspired by Northwest summer days, when the mountain is out, it is the perfect beer for your favorite summer activities. ABV 4.2% Seasonally Available in 6 Packs of 16oz Cans