RAAAAAIIIII-NIIIEEEEEEEER BEEEEEEEEEER might be finding it’s way back to Seattle, real soon.
In 1999 Pabst Blue Ribbon bought our beloved Seattle brewery and moved production of it’s regionally and nationally renowned lager to California. I always wanted one of those giant Rainier Bottle outfits.
Last summer, Pabst Blue Ribbon was bought out by beer entrepreneur, Eugene Kashper. Now Kashpher wants to move Rainier back to Seattle. Like the other Big Beer companies, he wants to expand Rainier into the craft beer market.
But he wants his “local legend” brands to tap into their own histories and re-establish their roots.
“These breweries played such an important role in the life of the community,” he said. “… They haven’t gotten as much love as they deserve.”
Kashpher, who is based in Los Angeles, is visiting Seattle this week to explore the local expansion of Rainier, which was established in 1878. His vision includes a return of brewing operations to Seattle — Rainier is now produced in California — and a tasting room in which beer lovers can explore a range of Rainier brews beyond the classic lager.
Those additional recipes would come from pre-prohibition Rainier recipes and possibly include ales and stouts.
Kashper is currently visiting Seattle to find a location and the potential locations include the original Rainier Brewery.
Kashper wants Rainier not to compete with these neighborhood breweries, but to peacefully co-exist with them. Besides, he said, after a couple of heavy IPAs, beer drinkers often finish their nights with a lighter beer such as Rainier.
“What we want to promote is great beer culture,” he said. “All of our values are craft values.”
Kashper is scouting local sites, including Rainier’s historic brewery and malt house, as possible locations for Rainier’s craft brewing operation.
“Hopefully people will be more excited when we start making some of the products this brewery (historically) made,” he said.
He would hire a Seattle-area brewmaster and locally source the ingredients that go into the new beers.
Kashper hopes to select a location for a new brewery and tasting room in a few months.
It would be great to get “Vitamin R” back to Seattle. Maybe soon!