An Abbreviated History of Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.
The history of Pacific Brewing & Malting Company began in 1897 with the merger of two other breweries, Milwaukee Brewing Company (established 1884) and Puget Sound Brewing Company (established 1891), both located in Downtown Tacoma’s old brewing district and both with their own unique beers and histories. The two breweries were collectively producing hundreds of barrels of beer a day.
The Puget Sound Brewing Company was incorporated on August 7, 1891 with a capital stock of $600,000. John Scholl was the firm’s president, with Anton Huth as treasurer. Just three years after the new business was formed, Huth bought out Scholl and assumed the position of president. The company’s management remained unchanged for the next six years when Huth took on another partner and the merger with Milwaukee Brewing Company occurred.
Huth undertook major expansion projects at the main Pacific Brewing plant, located at 25th Street between C Street and Jefferson, that cost half a million dollars. However, expansion plans included more than enlarging the primary plant, but also the continued acquisition of additional breweries.
In the meantime, in 1900, a new brewery was planned for Tacoma: Columbia Brewing Company. Though a major portion of the $50,000 capital was provided by Huth, the Columbia plant operated independent of Pacific Brewing. (In 1953, Columbia changed its name to Heidelberg Brewing Company to coincide with its popular flagship beer.)
By 1903, it was reported that Pacific’s beers were served throughout Washington and Alaska and as far reaching as China, the Philippines, and the Caroline Islands. By 1909, Pacific Brewing & Malting was one of the largest brewing companies in the Northwest, second only to Seattle Brewing & Malting, brewers of Rainier Beer.
The spectacular success of the business was cut short by state-wide Prohibition, which went into effect in 1916, four years before national Prohibition. Anton Huth died that same year.
Pacific left the Tacoma plant idle until 1919 when the plant was converted to the making of soap. As late as 1930, the plant was still producing soap with Huth’s widow serving as vice-president, and son, Carlton, secretary of the firm. When Carlton Huth died on October 17, 1944, he reportedly left an estate of $650 million to his two sisters and a niece.
The Pacific Brewing plant was later put to other uses, but never again as a brewery. The old brick structure was named an historical landmark in 1978 and still stands to this day.
The revived Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. is located in the old City Hall Annex. The history of that building and how the revival of PB&M came to be will be written about in future blogs.
Source: brewerygems.com, far and away the coolest brewery history website in the universe. 🙂