R.I.P. (for now) Olympia Beer

It might be strange for a SoCal beer blog to be talking about a faded brand from Washington State but trust me, there is a connection and some importance to remembering Olympia beer.

My dad would load up the family into a car that technically had four seats but when you add luggage and the fact that three of us were at the six foot tall mark, it was closer to a clown car. He would drive us all over. But one trip we made quite a bit was to Victoria, Canada and on some maps that meant driving through Olympia which meant you passed by Tumwater and the huge plant that Olympia Beer called home. For me it was a geographical marker. I knew the freeway would swing right soon and endless boring paved miles had a change of scenery.

Now, for the time being, there will be no Olympia beer brewed.

In my later years, Olympia came to be known along with Hamm’s and Henry Weinhard’s as beers for older people. Antiques might be a better name for it since the neon signs and memorabilia was more sought after than the beer.

This was, of course, due to the fact that Olympia was now just a name. A brand. It was passed around like crudités at a dinner party. Going from one corporate entity to the other. Just limping around.

By 2021 the beer was brewed in Irwindale, CA right off the 210 freeway at a massive Miller plant that is now in the hands of what is left of Pabst and it’s blue ribbon. The Tumwater facility is now a distillery producing Vodka. Maybe, in the future it will do beer again too but I think if they do they should let the “brand” die and have a new brewery name (New Olympia Brewing?) and have one of the beers be named “It’s the Water”. Trademarks allowing of course.