The History and Legacy of Olympia Brewery

Step into the world of Olympia and you'll uncover a story that spans over a century. From its humble beginnings in Tumwater, Washington to its status as a beloved American brand, Olympia Beer has left an indelible mark on the industry.

The roots of Olympia Beer can be traced back to 1896 when the Schmidt family first started brewing this iconic . With a commitment to quality and a passion for brewing, they quickly gained a loyal following in the Olympia, Washington community. The brewery, known as the Olympia Brewery, became a local landmark and a source of pride for the region.

Over the years, Olympia Beer continued to thrive, capturing the hearts of beer enthusiasts across the United States. It became known for its smooth, crisp taste and unparalleled craftsmanship. In fact, the beer was so revered that even Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood himself was a fan, often seen enjoying a cold Olympia Beer in several of his films.

However, like many businesses, Olympia Beer faced its fair share of challenges. In the 1980s, the Schmidt family made the difficult decision to sell the brewery. The brand changed hands several times, with operators such as Millar and Pabst taking the reins. Despite these transitions, Olympia Beer remained a beloved favorite among beer drinkers.

Unfortunately, in June 2003, the Olympia-based brewery closed its doors for the last time. It marked the end of an era as the beer was no longer brewed near Olympia, but instead in various locations throughout the United States. The closure of the iconic Tumwater brewery was a bittersweet moment for the community, as they bid farewell to a piece of their history.

Despite the changes, Olympia Beer continues to be cherished by beer connoisseurs. Its legacy lives on through the taste and memories it evokes. While the brewery may no longer be in operation, the spirit of Olympia Beer remains strong.

Olympia Beer is more than just a beverage. It represents a rich history, a legacy of craftsmanship, and a connection to the community it once called home. Whether you're enjoying a cold one with friends or reminiscing about the good old days, Olympia Beer will always hold a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate its unique story. Cheers to the enduring legacy of Olympia Beer!

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Is Olympia Still Brewed?

I remember the first time I tasted Olympia Beer. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting friends in Olympia, Washington. We cracked open a cold can of Olympia, and the crisp, refreshing taste instantly won me over. Little did I know then that the beer I was enjoying, brewed in Tumwater, Washington, would undergo some significant changes in the years to come.

In 1999, Pabst Brewing Company acquired the Olympia Beer brand. At the time, I didn't think much of it, assuming that the brewing operations would continue in Tumwater, just as they always had. However, things took a different turn. In 2003, Pabst made the decision to shut down the brewery in Tumwater, effectively ending the era of Olympia Beer being brewed near its namesake city.

Since then, Olympia Beer has been brewed in various locations around the United States. The exact locations may vary, as Pabst Brewing Company has multiple breweries across the country. This change in brewing locations has led to some differences in the taste and quality of the beer. Some longtime fans of Olympia Beer argue that it doesn't taste quite the same as it did when it was brewed in Tumwater.

I have to admit, I noticed a difference myself when I had a can of Olympia Beer after the brewery closure. While it still had a hint of that classic Olympia taste, there was something slightly different about it. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what changed, but it was noticeable enough for me to miss the original brew.

Despite the changes in brewing location, Olympia Beer still retains its iconic branding and remains a beloved brand for many. It may no longer be brewed in Olympia, but it continues to be available in stores across the country. For those who have fond memories of enjoying Olympia Beer in its heyday, it can still bring back a sense of nostalgia, even if the taste isn't quite the same.

Olympia Beer is no longer brewed near Olympia, Washington. After Pabst Brewing Company acquired the brand in 1999, the original brewery in Tumwater was shut down in 2003. Since then, Olympia Beer has been brewed in various locations around the United States. While the taste may have changed slightly, it remains a popular beer for many, evoking memories of its origins in the Pacific Northwest.

Where Is Olympia Beer Brewery?

I had the opportunity to visit the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, Washington recently, and I must say, it was a fascinating experience. The brewery, also known as “the Old Brewery,” is located at the base of the picturesque Tumwater Falls.

As I approached the brewery, I was struck by its historic charm. The brewhouse, which was built in 1906, exudes a sense of character and nostalgia. Its red brick exterior and towering smokestacks are a testament to its rich brewing heritage.

Situated alongside the falls, the brewery enjoys a stunning natural backdrop. The rushing waters of the falls create a soothing soundtrack that adds to the overall ambiance of the place. It's a truly serene setting that makes for a unique brewing location.

The interior of the brewery is equally impressive. As I stepped inside, I was greeted by the aroma of and barley. The brewing equipment, though aged, is well-maintained and showcases the craftsmanship of a bygone era. It was fascinating to see the intricate process of beer production up close.

One of the highlights of my visit was learning about the history of Olympia beer. The brewery has a long and storied past, dating back to its founding in 1896. It was once one of the largest breweries in the Pacific Northwest and enjoyed widespread popularity. Hearing about the legacy of Olympia beer, and its role in the local community, gave me a newfound appreciation for the brand.

In addition to its historical significance, the brewery is still operational today. While it may not produce beer on the same scale as it once did, it continues to craft small-batch brews that pay homage to its heritage. Visitors can even enjoy a sample of these beers in the brewery's tasting room, which offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

My visit to the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, Washington was a memorable one. From its picturesque location to its rich brewing history, the brewery exudes a sense of charm and authenticity. It's a place where past and present intertwine, and where the art of brewing can be appreciated in all its glory.


The history of the Olympia brewery is a fascinating tale that spans over a century. Originally brewed in Tumwater, Washington, the beer gained a loyal following and became a beloved local brand. However, the brewery saw a series of ownership changes and eventually closed its doors in 2003.

Despite its closure, Olympia beer remains a nostalgic favorite for many, with its iconic logo and rich heritage. Clint Eastwood's endorsement of the beer in several of his films only adds to its allure.

While Olympia beer is no longer brewed near Olympia itself, it continues to be produced in various locations across the United States. This expansion has allowed the brand to reach a wider audience, ensuring that its legacy lives on.

The 1906 Olympia Brewery brewhouse, known as “the Old Brewery,” still stands in Tumwater, serving as a reminder of the brewery's glory days. Its location at the base of the picturesque Tumwater Falls adds to its charm and historical significance.

The Olympia brewery holds a special place in the hearts of beer enthusiasts and residents of the Pacific Northwest. Its story serves as a testament to the ever-changing nature of the brewing industry and the enduring appeal of a well-crafted beer.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.