Columbia Beer

Tacoma, Washington

1900 ~ 1979

Columbia Brewing company was one of the longest running breweries in America, surviving a lengthy prohibition in Washington state (four years longer than National prohibition). Despite being renamed twice – as Columbia Breweries Inc. and Heidelberg Brewing Company, as well as being sold countless times (reportedly for $3.5 million in 1958), this Pacific Northwest establishment remained at it’s original address and produced the Columbia beer represented by this month’s label for more than three quarters of a century.

The original label of this brew contained a patriotic figure known as Lady Liberty. In fact she was the early Figure of Columbia Breweries. In 1934 when it became legal to offer full strength beer again in Washington state, the brewery adopted a male figure they called “Student Prince” as the brewery’s symbol. His image also appeared on the label of their other big selling beer, Alt Heidelberg.  However, in 1945 with America at war against the Germans, the company opted to downplay the germanic boy in its marketing, and resurrected the patriotic Figure of Columbia with the Statue of Liberty herself.

Throughout the years, the brewery expanded and improved operations and manpower, establishing itself as one of two premier breweries in the area. Unfortunately, its 1979 acquisition by G. Heileman Brewing Co of La Crosse WI was its demise. Heileman also owned Rainier Brewing, and the ownership of both violated antitrust laws, so in the spring of 1979 he opted to close Old Columbia/Heidelberg. The impressive structure remained until June 2011 when demolition began.