Rainier Brewery “R” to Illuminate Seattle Skyline

A major historical icon will return to the Seattle skyline this Thursday as the neon red Rainier Brewery “R” is illuminated again for the first time in 13 years.

The R, which sat on top the old Rainier Brewery building where it was visible to drivers entering the city by Interstate-5, was removed in 2000 to be replaced by the Tully’s “T.” Although the former brewery has been used for offices and apartments for years, the R became a historical icon and was not removed until Tully’s moved in.

Although the termination of the Tully’s lease at the old Rainier building brought the T down, the efforts to put the Rainier R back in place came from “a collaboration between Pabst, Western Neon, MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry), and the owners of the new building, Ariel Development,” according to a recent blog by the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

In order to celebrate the replacement of the historic symbol, Rainier Beer is hosting a party this Thursday, Oct. 24. The party is open to the public and includes entertainment and a beer garden, as well as a chance to take photos with the R and watch its illumination at 7:00 on Thursday evening.

Jim Foster, Rainier’s former marketing director and advertising manager, is just one of many Seattleites who is excited about the restoration of this classic icon. The R that will go up this week is not the original icon, which is now kept at the MOHAI. The new R is “made of rolled aluminum rather than the steel of the original,” and “weighs in at around 1,100 pounds, half the weight of its predecessor,” according to the Seattle Times.

It’s no wonder that Seattle residents are sentimental about the restoration of one of the city’s classic icons. For residents who drove past the R while driving in and out of the city for nearly 50 years, the return of the Rainier icon will be the return of a familiar sight on the classic city skyline.