Submitted by Olympia Tumwater Foundation
The City of Tumwater, the Olympia-Tumwater Foundation, and Thurston Community Media have teamed up to produce a video tour of the Old Brewhouse. The Olympia Brewery was the community’s largest private employer for a significant part of the past century and many local residents have stories of a family member’s experiences working for the Brewery, including retired brewmaster Paul Knight.
Knight hosts the video tour that features historic photos of the workers, the brewing process and the construction of the various buildings on the site. The video includes the founding Schmidt family and how their business made the slogan “It’s the Water” famous. The brewery is the last reminder of the flourishing riverside industries that once formed the heart of Tumwater. Knight describes the crucial role the Olympia Brewing Company played in the history of our community.
Tumwater’s Old Brewhouse is an iconic landmark in the community, and influenced the design of many new buildings around the City. The six-story red brick tower is seen by tens of thousands of people each day from I-5. In its prime, the Brewery was a tourist destination, with some accounts that the company gave tours to 100,000 visitors each year. After the 2016 donation of the brick tower to the City of Tumwater, tours of the complex have been restricted in the interest of safety during renovation stages. The City of Tumwater has made preservation of the historic structure and revitalization of the brewing district a priority.