Get your Olympia beer now as it is soon sold out.
The lack of Olympia beer at area retailers and restaurants finally has an answer: Pabst Brewing Co. announced Monday that it has temporarily suspended production of the iconic product due to declining demand.
The brewing company announced its decision on Instagram.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to find a solution to the challenges posed by reduced beer sales and had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend production of Olympia beer,” the statement said. “We remain committed to finding the best solution to continue brewing Olympia beer in the future. “
Reaction to the news was mixed on Monday. Some were disappointed that the brand was going into hibernation, while others said it was good that the brand had a chance to come back at some point.
A question to a company spokesperson about the length of the temporary production shutdown went unanswered.
“It’s pretty sad,” Bellevue’s Dave Unwin said after hearing the news. Unwin is a collector of Northwest beer memorabilia, including Olympia beer. He recalls a neighbor who enjoyed Olympia beer and the brewery tours visitors could take when beer was still being produced on Custer Way in Tumwater. This original brewery was closed over 17 years ago.
The best outcome is for Pabst to either start making the beer again or sell the label to someone who will, Unwin said.
The decision to temporarily halt production will not change anything for O Bee Credit Union, the Tumwater-based credit union that once exclusively served brewery workers, said Lee Wojnar, vice president of marketing.
“We will continue to do business as usual,” he said, adding that this would not mean any changes for his Olympia-branded credit card.
“We always celebrate the history of the brewery,” he said.
Olympia beer was last produced in Tumwater in June 2003, and was eventually shut down after a series of operators, including Millar and Pabst, ran the brewery. The Schmidt family, who started brewing beer in 1896, sold the business in the 1980s.
Ahead of Pabst’s announcement on Monday, a number of retailers in the region were alerted that stocks of Olympia beer were running low. This led to Andy Thielen, co-owner of T Brothers Liquor & Wine Lodge in downtown Olympia, to stock up on Olympia beer when he still had the chance.
On Monday, after buying more than three pallets of Olympia beer, he had dropped to 240 six-pack Olympia big boys and five 12-packs, he said.
“I’m happy to hear it’s temporary,” Thielen said of Pabst’s decision. “It’s good to know that it will come back at some point.”
This story was originally published 25 January 2021 00h00.