Deal Near for Former Olympia Brewery

Has Miller Brewing finally found a buyer for its shuttered former brewing plant in Olympia, Washington? According to the Olympian, a purchase deal may be nearly ready to go with a newly formed water bottling company, All-American Bottled Water Corp. of Nevada. The deal would also result in the recall of a small number of laid-off brewery workers, as the plant would employ about 40 workers, about 10% of the headcount that was laid off when the brewery closed. All-American will bottle the artesian water from the brewery’s own source – the same water that figured prominently in Olympia Beer’s heyday – and would also bottle water on a contract basis with supermarkets and retail chains. It will be sold nationwide and internationally. There has also been confirmation from representatives of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 378 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 286 that a deal is in the works. Union members would be the first to be re-employed by the new water bottler, under a severance deal negotiated between Miller and the brewery’s labor unions. Miller’s asking price for eight buildings, with more than 1 million square feet of space on 176 acres, is $15 million. The amount of All-American’s offer was not disclosed. The water rights that accompany the brewery are a big draw for any potential buyer, and could be particularly attractive for a bottled-water manufacturer. For decades, the motto for Olympia Beer was “It’s the water.” If the deal goes through, water, not beer, will be the primary focus of All-American’s business.