Charles Kappler – Etna Brewery Founder
A German native of Alsace, Charles Kappler came to the United States in 1852 speaking no English. He labored at breweries in Sacramento and Yreka before purchasing a brewery at Hartstrand Gulch in Scott Valley in 1868. In 1872 he moved his brewery three miles south to the small town of Etna Mills. The beginning of Etna Brewery, a successful enterprise which endured until the enactment of Prohibition in 1920. In addition to the brewery his sons owned saloons throughout Siskiyou County – Prohibition was a severe blow to the entire family. Charles Kappler died on his 74th birthday in 1920.
Kappler’s Etna Brewery and Ice Plant circa 1900.
This building was located directly across from the street from the current brewery location. It was demolished in early 1930, ten years after the enactment of prohibition.
Men at Work
Martin Marx, Joe Stark, & Joe Kappler busily bottling Etna brew. Martin Marx, sitting in trough with open bottle, must be in charge of quality control! This bottling facility was located on the grounds of the current brewery.
Advertisement – Scott Valley Advance – July 1, 1915
Excellence in brewing even then! In July, 1909 the United States Health Bulletin gave an unsolicited recommendation to Etna Brewery for ” reaching a high degree of perfection…”. In 1915 the brewery won a gold medal at the Pan Pacific International Exposition.
Early Etna Beer Label
The legend behind this early Etna label is that it was designed by an Asian artist that left the sun open to allow evil spirits to escape. When the brewery was reopened in 1990 the new labels were based on this original.
In May of 1990, seventy years after the enactment of prohibition and the closing of Charles Kappler’s Etna Brewery, Andrew and Brenda Hrulimann with a group of investors revitalized the brewing tradition in Etna with the opening of the Etna Brewing Company. The new brewery was built on the site of the original 1870’s bottling works building directly across the way from the old brewery. At that time there was no pub – just the brewery and a tasting room. All marketing and labels were based on the historic Kappler labels and his first brew was Export Lager. Andrew, an avid home brewer, was among the early pioneers in the micro brew revolution.
In May of 2001, the brewery was purchased by Dave & Marilyn Krell. Davem a home brewer, farmer, and mechanical engineer, and Marilyn, a retired bank administrator were up for an adventure. Learning that the tiny brewery was for sale they visited other micro-breweries in California and Oregon. With high hopes and enthusiasm they decided to take the leap and are glad they did. There is never dull moment. The pub was opened in July of 2001 and has been growing steadily. It is a State of Jefferson favorite destination. The brewery had been retrofitted and expanded with amazing award winning beers produced regularly. Stand in line for Kappler Stout, Sno-Wookie, or Club Foot!