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Our History

Our History

We Started in a Shirt Pocket at the Olympia Brewery

Our Founder

Ted McGill, Founder

O Bee started in a shirt pocket -- it’s true! Back in 1955, Ted McGill, a worker in Bottle House “A” at the Olympia Brewery, heard about credit unions and thought it would be a good idea for the brewery workers to start one. He was a smart guy with a considerable gift for persuasion (Ted called it “jaw boning”). After time and effort, the credit union was formed. In the early years Ted McGill WAS the credit union. He would walk around the brewery with membership cards, loan applications and receipts stuffed in his shirt pocket. Some say it was like the whole credit union was in that one pocket.

Bottle House A

Bottle House “A”

Ted also gave out share withdrawals and loans right there on the bottle house floor. The credit union was named “The Olympia Brewing Company Employees and Families Credit Union.” Ted, who was afraid he would have to write that name by hand “at least 40 million times,” objected strongly and countered with “O Bee Credit Union.” The name stuck and history was made.

From Tumwater to Hollywood

Old Brewhouse 1903

In the 60s and 70s Olympia Beer gained increasing popularity and was featured in films with actors like Dustin Hoffman, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. Throughout that time of growth and accelerated awareness for the brewery, O Bee thrived as well and offered increased services to its employees and their families. In 2002, O Bee’s Field of Membership expanded to include anyone who lives or works in the State of Washington and membership grew further.


Other Brands in the Olympia Brewery Family


The Olympia Brewery also brewed other Pacific Northwest brands because, one by one, their home breweries in Seattle and nearby were closing down. For a time the Olympia Brewery was also home to Lucky Lager, Henry Weinhard's, Rainier and Pabst Blue Ribbon. These names are also part of our proud heritage and helped to make the brewery great.

Rainier Beer LogoLucky Lager LogoHenry Weinhard's Beer Logo
Orange and Blue olympia Beer LogoOlympia Beer Pale Export LogoPabst Blue Ribbon Logo


Oly Commercials (Audio-Only)

Save the Old Brewhouse


60th Anniversary Video

The History of O Bee Credit Union

Thanks for 50 years, Carolyn!

O Bee Ranked #1 in WA