Emil Kliese was a 35 year old, German-born brewmaster who had emigrated in 1883, and by 1890 was working at a brewery in St. Louis. In the mid-1890’s, Kliese made his way west, securing a position with the newly established Capital Brewing Co. (later the Olympia Brg. Co.) in Tumwater, WA. By 1899 he was their head brewmaster. A business opportunity arose when some Tacoma investors wanted to open another brewery in that town. They required an expert brewmaster, and he wanted to operate his own brewery. So he, along with, William C. Kiltz, filled for articles of incorporation on the 8th of February 1900 “to brew and sell at wholesale and retail beer and other malt beverages” at a company to be known as the Columbia Brewing Company.
The new firm had an initial capitalization of $50,000. William Kiltz was sales manager and Emile Kliese was owner, president and brewmaster. The brewery’s start-up was aided by the larger Pacific Brewing & Malting, a major shareholder. By 1906 it controlled Columbia, but allowed it to operate independently and market its own brands of beer. Tacoma’s newest brewery was online by the end of April 1901, at which time the city boasted of 95 bars… read more >