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Historic Beer Birthday: Elmer Hemrich

Today is the birthday of Elmer E.L. Hemrich (September 18, 1890-January 20, 1937). He was raised in the Seattle, Washington area, and was the son of Alvin Hemrich, a prominent businessman and brewery owner in Seattle. His son worked for several of his businesses, before strking out on his own and founding Elmer E. Hemrich’s Brewery in 1935. Unfortunately, an unexpected heart attack killed him two years later, in 1937, and his brother Walter took over his brewery.

Here’s his father’s business history. In 1891, he moved to the Seattle, Washington area, and began working for breweries there and in Canada, including the Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. His brother Andrew (Elmer’s uncle) bought the Bay View Brewery in Seattle, and later Alvin bought the North Pacific Brewery (also known as the old Slorah brewery), and renamed it the Alvin Hemrich Brewing Co. in 1897. Two of his brothers soon joined him in the enterprise, and it was renamed again, this time to Hemrich Brothers Brewing Company. They did well enough that he began buying out other area breweries. When prohibition closed the brewery, they were ready, having retooled their plants for near-beer and also having divested into some other businesses. They reopened when prohibition was repealed, and two of Alvin’s sons went into the family business, too, including Elmer, but their father died just two years later.

There’s also a photograph of Alvin M. Hemrich and his son, Elmer E. Hemrich, taken around 1910 that can be seen at Brewery Gems’ biography of Alvin Hemrich, shared with him by the Hemrich family. As is typical for Pacific Northwest breweries, Gary Flynn has a thorough composite biography culled from numerous sources at his Brewery Gems website.

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