Friday, November 19, 2010

Historic Portland Breweries Map

The faded General Brewing Corporation sign on the building at 13th and Kearney got me thinking about breweries of the past in Portland. As it happens, a few years ago at Powells I picked up a book called "Brewed in the Pacific Northwest", written in 1991 by Gary and Gloria Meier. The book was written at the beginning of the modern microbrewery era, so most of its focus is actually on pre-Prohibition breweries.

It is also a pre-digital mapping book, so it didn't occur to the authors to map out the information in the book. It was interesting enough to me that I spent an evening plotting their Portland brewery entries on a Google Map. This map shows the breweries that opened in Portland between 1852 and 1934.

View Historic Portland Breweries 1852-1934 in a larger map

If you look at the map on Google's map page, there is a chronological list of the breweries in the left margin.

At first glance, the map actually looks a lot like a present-day map of Portland breweries: almost all of them are in the SE and NW quadrants. Some of the parallels are eerie: there have never been many breweries south of downtown, yet there used to be one very close to where John Harris's Full Sail outpost is today; one of the few NE breweries was located about a football field away from Breakside, which opened this year in an otherwise deserted neighborhood. Makes you wonder if some of the same geography or demographics is at work today as it was 100 or 150 years ago.

Anyone have any stories about the breweries or the buildings on the map?


  1. This is real cool, Bill!

  2. Cool post, Bill. Does the book have any photos?

    Also notable: 'Mt. Hood Brewing' just a couple blocks south of the new Hair of the Dog location. And 'Portland Weissbeer Brewing & Bottling' around the corner from Apex and BeerMongers


    PS The third bullet point under Henry Weinhard's made me smile...

  3. Thanks, gents.

    The book has a few historic photos, and the occasional old advertisement, but it's not a coffee-table book by any means. Just a 9x7 paperback.

    Is it a good book? There are a few sections of narrative mostly focused on the big three: Olympia, Rainier, and Blitz-Weinhard, and they're moderately interesting. Much of the book is taken up by short paragraphs on each brewery known to have been in any town in Oregon or Washington. That's not exactly riveting reading, but it's an interesting glimpse at the past. It really does cover the smallest of towns, which makes me think it's a pretty complete reference.

  4. Photos would be very cool!

  5. An even earlier brewery resided in Camas, WA at the site of the present-day paper mill - the original site of Henry Weinhardt's first brewery. Is there space on the map to add it?

  6. Portermaker: Well, the aim was really just to show all the Portland breweries in the book. There were several listed in the Vancouver area, but I'm sticking with Portland proper.

    It's easy to make your own map. If you make a more complete map than mine, let me know, I'll spread the word!