Pints from the Past: Pacific Northwest Brewery Women

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm

She was there too: Pacific Northwest brewery women presented by Tiah Edmunson-Morton

Before there was a 1986 Portland Brewing Company, there was a 1905 Portland Brewing Company. Before Arnold Blitz took the helm in 1911 and Blitz-Weinhard was formed in 1928, the company was owned by Mary Wilhelm, widow of the owner of the Sellwood Brewery.

The records of Oregon's beer history are scattered with sentences like this: "Mrs. Wilhelm operates a brewery, formerly conducted by her husband, who died several years ago." But early Northwest beer history is most often told as a story rugged, white, frontiersmen who made lager and supplied saloons for thirsty laborers. While the brewing industry was largely assumed to have a male dominated workforce and clientele, in reality, many early Oregon breweries were actually family affairs. Mary's story as a German immigrant, wife, mother, and business owner is one of many stories of women in Oregon's beer history. Their roles are invisible in the documentary record, but Tiah Edmunson-Morton and her work curating the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives is working to fix that. Learn more about Mary Wilhelm, 19th century women who ran businesses, and the women of the 20th and 21st century who continue that work.

Tiah Edmunson-Morton is an archivist at Oregon State University who curates the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives and explores allied collecting areas for food and drink in the Northwest through content acquisition and access, conducting oral histories, and outreach to industries and communities. She is working on a book for the OSU Press on the wives of 19th century Oregon brewers, expected publication fall 2024.

This program is offered by the Lake Oswego Public Library in cooperation with the Lake Theater & Café. Admission is free and no ticket is required (though food and drink purchase is encouraged to offset the cost to the Lake Theater). Doors open at 6:30, the presentation begins at 7:00. The Lake Theater & Café is located at 106 North State Street in Lake Oswego. For more information, contact Carissa Barrett at or 503-534-4237.

Tiah Edmunson-Morton
Related Links