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Commercial brewing in the Pacific Northwest began in 1852, when a Germanimmigrant named Henry Saxer established his Liberty Brewery at the new villagecalled Portland in the Oregon Territory. Henry Saxer missed being the firstbrewer on the Pacific Coast by three years; that honor went to San Franciscobrewer Adam Schuppert in 1849.

Henry Saxer was among the vanguard in a growing parade of pioneer Northwestbrewers who brought their art to a thirsty frontier. Introducing the carefulbrewing methods of the Old Country, these adventurous brewers set themselves thetask of satisfying a limitless demand. Saxer’s modest beer plant, called LibertyBrewery, was near First and Davis Streets in downtown Portland. It was the firstof a number of early breweries in the salmon and timber country.

Eight years after beginning Liberty Brewing in 1852, Henry Saxer’s original smallwooden house had grown to three large adjoining two-story buildings. In 1862Saxer sold his brewery to a young German brewer named Henry Weinhard fromneighboring Fort Vancouver, across the Columbia River. Thus began the epoch ofOregon’s largest and longest-running brewing company.

Today, Saxer Brewing Company carries the name of this pioneer because heembodies the spirit and tradition of making the finest hand-crafted beer in thePacific Northwest.

Photograph courtesy Oregon History Society, negative number 1722-A

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