Rare beer theft leaves owner feeling less than bubbly
The owner of a popular Tacoma brewery is hoping that whoever stole six 100-year-old bottles of beer from his truck late Sunday doesn’t try to take a swig.
If they do?
“It’ll taste like vinegar or putrid water,” said Steve Navarro, co-owner of Pacific Brewing and Malting in downtown Tacoma at 610 Pacific Ave. Unlike scotch or wine, most beers don’t age very well.
“I’m offering a cash reward. I just want them back,” said Navarro. “Honestly, I don’t want to press charges. All I want to do is get the bottles back. Insurance will cover the window. That’s not the big thing to me. I just want them back. There’s a big part of Tacoma’s history and a big part of this brewery’s history in those bottles.”
Navarro’s 2-year-old brewery is named after Tacoma’s historic brewery of the same name that ceased operation with Prohibition 100 years ago.
While Navarro was working to open his brewery in 2013, someone contacted him to tell him they had found unopened, full bottles of the Tacoma brand beer from the original Pacific Brewing and Malting under a stairwell at an Oregon hotel.
Navarro snatched up the bottles for $1,000 because of the historical significance of the beer inside. He sent one bottle to a lab for testing to analyze the yeast, but the test results were inconclusive. The empty bottle from that test is the only bottle he has left.
“We were going to eventually send more for testing. These bottles have been in the basement of my home for the last two years. I was going to move them to the brewery this week,” said Navarro, who had them in his truck because he just sold his house and is moving.
On Sunday, Navarro parked and locked his Ford F-150 at Sixth Avenue and Broadway in Tacoma. He returned to the truck early Monday to take his children to school when he saw the window had been smashed. Money and personal belongings were left behind. The only thing taken was the beer, which was stashed in a Deschutes beer box.
“They probably decided it was something to get drunk off of,” said Navarro. “It’s a total random act. They probably don’t realize what they have unless they drink it.”
The bottles are irreplaceable, not just because they have nostalgic and historical significance to Navarro. While empty antique beer bottles can be procured, finding an antique bottle of beer filled with its original content is rare.
He’s going to great lengths to locate the bottles. He filed a police report. He’s monitoring auction websites and is getting out the word to local antique shops. He also checked nearby businesses for surveillance cameras that might have caught the theft. He couldn’t find any.
“I’ve been literally walking the alleys and opening up dumpsters. So far, I’ve come up empty-handed,” said Navarro. “Even if it’s an anonymous thing, I just want the bottles back.”
Anyone with information can call Navarro at 253-442-0596.