Owners of historic brew house offer it as donation to city

TUMWATER, Wash. — Time is running out for the old Olympia Brewing Company’s brew house in Tumwater. But a move by the building’s owner could save it.

There is a lot of rust, falling bricks, and years of rot inside the aging structure.




Built in 1906, it’s where Olympia operated for a decade before moving to another location nearby.

Now the owners of the brew house are offering to donate the building to the city of Tumwater, giving city officials a chance to preserve it.

"Brewing beer was a big deal, this was a major company," said Tumwater Mayor Peter Kmet. "How they really got their start was the gold rush, providing beer for the gold rush folks up in Alaska."

Olympia beer was once known for its quirky commercials, claiming the beer, brewed with water from artesian wells at the original site, was actually brewed by Artesians, mythical invisible creatures.

Kmett said historic building inspectors have given the brew house about two more years before the damage from deterioration is beyond repair.

Temporary measures could be taken once the city has ownership of the building to slow the decay.

Full restoration is estimated to cost around $6 million, more than the city of Tumwater can afford.

“We’re really going to need help from the broader community,” said Kmet. “We’ll be looking to the state and federal government for grants, and hopefully some private foundations to help out as well.”

Acquiring the building and taking on preservation will require approval by the Tumwater City Council.

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