Thursday, November 4, 2010
A little googling led me to this article about Lucky Lager, which was the star brand of General Brewing. At one time it was the best-selling beer on the west coast. The Lucky Labrador has been dabbling in lagers, they should definitely jump on that name (oops -- guess not: commenters point out that Labatt's still sells Lucky Lager). [Update: I took a better picture of the sign from across the street: you can see lower down some faded block letters that read "LUCKY LAGER", especially if you click on it to see it full-size.]
General Brewing was founded in San Francisco in 1933. I can't find any mention of them brewing in Portland, though they bought Vancouver's Star Brewery in 1939. They changed their name to Lucky Lager Brewing Co. in 1949, so this sign probably went up sometime between 1939 and 1949. Since they didn't brew here, maybe that building was a warehouse or sales office for them, or maybe the sign is just an advertisement.
That article on Star is an interesting read: we always think of Henry Weinhard when we think of old-timey Portland-area beer, but it looks like the Star plant was a pretty good-sized operation itself. I like the 1890 ad for Star that boasts that it's "brewed exclusively from Oregon Barley and Oregon Hops"-- even then the 'Couve had an inferiority complex.
Kind of cool that the General Brewing sign survived to see the beer renaissance in its neighborhood. I hope it can be preserved into the future.
[Later: I just stumbled on this blog Portland Building Ads that has a much better picture of the General Brewing Sign.]