El Capitan Premium Beer

El Capitan Premium Beer was one of many labels produced by the famous Maier Brewing Company in Los Angeles, CA. It was produced in the mid 1950s, shortly before the sale of the brewery in 1958. Should you be so lucky to find a can in good condition, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250-$1000 for this beauty!

During its 76 years, Maier established a reputation for supporting local business and industry, and they were rewarded with their beers being sold in all the local grocery stores and at baseball stadiums in the west.

German entrepreneurs Joseph Maier and George Zobelein purchased the original Philadelphia Brew House in 1882 and renamed it Maier & Zobelein. They created a line of beer that was lighter than what was typically brewed in America, bringing the German style of beer making to Los Angeles and producing a lighter pilsner style lager. The large population of European immigrants certainly supported the demand for this style of beer.

Maier’s two sons took over his share of the brewery upon his death in 1904, and Zobelein parted ways in 1907 after a bitter dispute. The brewery was renamed to simply Maier, and the brothers spared nothing in its development and expansion. With its state of the art equipment and massive buildings, the operation covered between 11 and 12 acres, with some buildings six stories tall. In fact the brewery was so large that when the freeway was laid out in the 1950s, a stretch had to be built around the property!

During Prohibition, Maier was raided multiple times and discovered to be producing full strength beer illegally. The owner denied any knowledge, but the feds still confiscated his brewing equipment and bottling plant. Maier was not able to regain his business until seven years after prohibition – in 1940!

The brewery was sold in 1958 and again in 1971, operating until 1974. The buildings were demolished in 1985 but the huge imprint is still evident in the sharp curve of the roadway winding around it.