Rainier Brewing Company Bottling Plant

In 1905, the Seattle-based Rainier Brewing Company announced plans to construct a bottling works and distribution center one block from the established Reno Brewing Company. Located near the railroad tracks at what is now 310 Spokane Street, the structure required a sizeable investment of thirty thousand dollars for construction and equipment, including expensive boilers shipped from Chicago.

Disaster was closely averted in October 1905, just days before the scheduled opening, when a fire, believed to be arson, broke out in the cellar. A Reno Brewing Company watchman discovered the flames while making his rounds up the street and called for assistance just in time.

Rainier Beer was originally shipped to this plant from the company’s Seattle brewery via railroad, and unloaded directly from a spur track to a platform on the building’s south side. The complex included cold, keg, and barrel storage as well as the foreman’s living quarters and stables for the delivery wagon horses.

In 1914, the state of Washington voted to prohibit the sale or manufacture of alcohol, forcing all its breweries to dismantle their operations within a year. In 1915, the brewing of Rainier Beer shifted to San Francisco. The company survived national Prohibition, but the Reno bottling works was forced to diversify its range of products. In 1919, Nevada Supply Company operated from the building, selling non-alcoholic beverages including Rainier’s near beer, a beer substitute called Becco, Brown’s Celery Phosphate, carbonated apple juice, and maple syrup. It also rented out storage space for refrigerated and non-refrigerated food items.

The Rainier plant went on to house a number of businesses from Nevada National Ice and Cold Storage Company to Ice House Antiques. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Today, it is home to the Spice House Adult Cabaret.

Images

Ice House Antiques, 1979

Ice House Antiques, 1979

At the time of the building's nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, the building housed an antiques store. A sign for the National Oil and Burner Company, an earlier tenant, remained affixed to the side. In its bottling plant years, the two-story portion on the right housed the office and cold storage, with the bottling works located in the section covered by the slanted shed roof. Image courtesy of National Register of Historic Places View File Details Page

Rainier Beer ad, 1916

Rainier Beer ad, 1916

A newspaper advertisement from 1916 touts the Rainer Brewery's new location in San Francisco, a move necessitated by the enactment of Prohibition in the state of Washington, its initial location. Beer was shipped from the brewery to the bottling plant in Reno, among other locations, to be distributed regionally. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Bottling Works layout, 1918

Bottling Works layout, 1918

A Sanborn fire insurance map from 1918 shows the arrangement of the bottling works' operations, including the bottling room, cold and keg storage, and wagon shed. Image courtesy of Mary B. Ansari Map Library, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

No more intoxicants, 1919

No more intoxicants, 1919

With the enactment of national Prohibition, the building was devoted to the distribution of non-intoxicating beverages and other food products, from beer substitutes like Becco to maple syrup. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Spice House, 2005

Spice House, 2005

Although serving as an adult cabaret, the building's exterior in 2005 still retained a great deal of its historical integrity. Running courses of brick produce a banded effect, with segmental arches spanning the window and door openings. Photo by Max Chapman View File Details Page

Street Address:

310 Spokane Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Rainier Brewing Company Bottling Plant,” Reno Historical, accessed March 27, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/109.

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