In 1939, Olympia Beer wasn’t distributed to the East Coast. Except for one bottle, which made it to New York via halibut express. In the summer of 1939, a 20-pound halibut somewhere in the north Pacific swallowed an Olympia beer bottle. Everybody needs a cold beer once in a while, right?
That halibut was then caught by an unsuspecting fishing boat, put on ice, and shipped by train to the Fulton Fish Market in New York. A man cleaning fish found the bottle inside the halibut. Two wide-awake Fishery Council publicity men were at the market that day, heard the gossip, and thought it would make a great news story. The item was sent out through the Associated Press wires, and appeared in papers in Florida, Utah, Iowa, Wisconsin, and other states. It even made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Pictured above: The original bottle, complete with label and a few fish scales, was presented to Peter G. Schmidt, Olympia Brewing president, while he was visiting New York. Peter also received a good-sized halibut (a fresh one, presented by the flight attendant) to take home as a gift to Washington State Governor Clarence Martin. The bottle is still in the collection of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation.