Olympia Beer is Going Extinct After a Long Decline
I tried Olympia more than 30 years ago. I wasn’t impressed. It was a cold winter day and I walked into a “redemption center”. It had nothing to do with religious faith. In some states you redeem empty bottles and cans for a nickel or a dime. A few blocks from home there was a shop dedicated to taking the empties as the local grocery stores were often overwhelmed by volume. A buddy of mine, John, drank beer like it was spring water. He would bag his empties and leave them on his back porch. When it came to trading in the cans he would procrastinate and the bags would get a little nasty.
Olympia clearly wasn’t in the same class. It had two flavors; cold and can.
I volunteered one Saturday morning to take a load to the center and promised I would exchange the empties for some filled containers. When the cans were counted I received more than 29 dollars in exchange. The center also sold beer and there was a strange artifact stacked near the door. It was Olympia and it was rare in the Great Lakes Region. Where at the time I lived.
A guy behind the counter explained a truck carrying the beer had broken down along Interstate 90 and a decision was made to offload the cases locally. To move it and reclaim floor space, cases were being sold for under four dollars. I grabbed a couple for John. When it was chilled, he suggested I try some.
I don’t like whiskey and wines. Never developed a taste for either one. Beer, on the other hand, was like soda pop for grown-ups. It fizzes! At the time I liked a brand called Anchor Steam out of California. Pricey but tasty. Olympia clearly wasn’t in the same class. It had two flavors; cold and can.
Over the weekend I read where the label is being discontinued. It hasn’t been the original Olympia for a very long time. Not since being purchased by a conglomerate and then production was moved out of Washington. The old water used in brewing is long gone.
The micro-brewing revolution closed the door on a lot of old brands. People discovered new tastes and the bargain brews faded away. Time marches on.
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