The History of a Climax Beer Uncaser

 

In March 1973 Owens-Illinois, the worlds leading glass-packaging maker contacted Climax Packaging Machinery to build a new four head UUI-48 uncaser to uncase Plasti Shield. On June, 25th Climax shipped the new uncaser to Owens-Illinois and it was immediately put into production.

Founded in 1903 as Owens Bottle Company and merged with The Illinois Glass Company in 1929 to become Owens-Illinois, Inc. Their worldwide headquarters is in Perrysburg, Ohio with annual sales of $7.0 billion and 77 plants in 21 countries. A UUI-48 uncaser was a great choice for them.

Owens Illinois

For a number of years the UUI-48 uncaser was in production and then it was sold to the Olympia Brewing Company.

History of Olympia Brewing Company: Leopold Schmidt, a German immigrant from Montana founded The Capital Brewing Company at Tumwater Falls on the Deschutes River in the town of Tumwater, near the south end of Puget Sound. He built a four-story wooden brewhouse, a five-story cellar building, a one-story ice factory powered by the lower falls, and a bottling and keg plant and in 1896, began brewing and selling Olympia Beer. In 1902, the firm became Olympia Brewing Company and chose the slogan “It’s the Water” to promote its flagship product. Statewide Prohibition, which began in January 1916, four years before National Prohibition, ended beer making operations. After Prohibition ended, a new Olympia Brewery was erected just upstream from the original, and Olympia beer went back on sale in 1934.

The original brewery that produced Olympia Beer as seen in 2012. Tumwater, WA.

Olympia Brewery

Olympia Beer was a very popular regional brand in the Pacific Northwest for half of a century. It eventually expanded nationwide, repositioned as a low-price lager. During the 1970s, Olympia acquired Hamm’s and Lone Star. Olympia Brewing also produced Buckhorn Beer, which had previously been a product of the Lone Star Brewing Company.

In the 1983 Olympia Brewing purchased a Climax uncaser from Owens-Illinois to install it in their brewery.

As with many other regional breweries, ownership of the Olympia Brewery eventually passed through several corporations including Pabst, G. Heileman, and Stroh’s, until the brewery was eventually purchased by Miller Brewing Co. For a time, the Olympia brewery took over the brewing of other Pacific Northwest brands as their original breweries were closed one by one, including the Lucky Lager brewery in Vancouver, Washington, the Henry Weinhard’s brewery in Portland, Oregon, and even the brewery of its arch-rival, Rainier Beer, in Seattle. In 2002 SAB bought out Miller brewing Co. SABMiller closed the Olympia Brewery on June 27th, 2003 citing the unprofitability of such a small brewery.

Enter the Fish Brewing Company. The Fish Brewing Company purchased the Climax UUI-48 uncaser shortly after the Olympia Brewery was closed and immediately put it to work.

The 1973 Climax UUI-48 uncaser today at the Fish Brewing Company.

Fish Brewing Company

History of Fish Brewing Company: From its home in beautiful Olympia, Washington, Fish Brewing Company has been hand-crafting ales of Northwest proportions since 1993. Founded by Crayne and Mary Horton and a few dozen local investors, Fish began operations humbly. With a 15-barrel brew house, two 15-barrel fermenters, and one dairy tank, we brewed for our neighbors up and down Puget Sound. Growing steadily since, Fish is now an award-winning craft brewer with distribution throughout the great Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Fish Brewing Logo

Today, three distinct brands make their home under Fish Brewing’s roof. In the beginning there were Fish Tale Ales, English-style beers born in our brewpub on Jefferson Street. It wasn’t long before our brewery outgrew its cradle, though. So in 1996, we moved brewing operations across Jefferson Street and into the historic and spacious Skoog Building.

How spacious? Spanning the block from Jefferson to Cherry Street, the building once housed Olympia Knitting Mills. More recently, Skoog Manufacturing built and serviced lumber mill machinery there. The building was so spacious that the move provided ample room for both brewing and bottling. And bottle we did, introducing our first six packs in 1997. Subsequent equipment up-grades allow us to now bottle in both 12-ounce and 22-ounce sizes. And our original brewing space back across Jefferson Street? It’s now the Fish Tale Brewpub’s kitchen.

Fish Brewing Building

At the turn of the century, we stepped in a greener direction with the release of our first Certified Organic beer, award-winning Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale. Since then, Fish Tale Organic Pale Ale and Fish Tale Organic IPA have joined our Organic family. In 2009, we reintroducing Fish Tale’s summer seasonal as Fish Tale Organic Blonde Ale. An Organic Winterfish Seasonal Ale can’t be far behind. With an eye ever toward the integrity of our recipes, it’s our commitment to continue this transition as the proper ingredients become available in Organic form. The day will come when all beers bearing the Fish Tale name will be Certified Organic.

Then we have Leavenworth. In 2001, a year-long courtship culminated in the marriage of Fish Brewing and Leavenworth Biers, the Northwest’s Original German-style craft brewer. Founded by Scott Hansen in Leavenworth WA ”home of the Northwest’s famed Bavarian Village  ”Leavenworth Biers have been winning fame of their own since 1992. With this union of breweries, Leavenworth Biers moved its own operations to the brewery on Jefferson Street.

Three years later, the Fish family celebrated another happy addition. Spire Mountain Ciders, the nation’s oldest operating commercial craft cider maker, came into the Fish fold in 2004. Today, award-winning Spire Mountain’s cidery occupies its own special space in the brewery on Jefferson Street.

The year 2006 saw another giant leap for Fish. That year, we retired our 15-barrel brewing system and replaced it with the famed 40-barrel brew house that we use today. We’ve expanded fermenting capabilities, as well. With the addition of our fifth 120-barrel fermenter, our twelve fermenters have a total capacity of 1,015 barrels.

What’s next? Without doubt, more delightful beer and cider. Making these is simply how we enjoy ourselves. Here at Fish, we believe that fresh beer and cider, fine food, and enduring friendships are what life in the Great Pacific Northwest is all about. We’ve been proud to be a part of that tradition for over 15 years, and thank you for joining us in it.

Climax Packaging Machinery is proud of our packaging machines and we love to hear about how our machines are performing and how long they have been in production. This UUI-48 has been uncasing for over 41 years and counting!

More information about Climax Uncasers
More information about Climax Packaging  Uncasers