The big red R is back on top of Seattle’s old Rainier Brewery, and naturally people went all nostalgic. Apparently, few raised in Seattle and environs can forget those misty winter nights driving up I-5, spotting that big R, and somehow getting a warm feeling. Maybe, there’s symbolism there people with Seattle roots feel in their bones.
The old big R came down in 2000, a time of economic transformation. The dot-com boom was peaking, Seattle was the epicenter of the new tech economy, making millionaires left and right. The old middle-class Seattle, the flannel-shirt-and-lunchbucket Seattle, where a job at Boeing meant security and prosperity and buying a house, where drinking Rainier and watching the Seahawks at the corner tavern was popular entertainment — it was still there, but fading in importance. And the Rainier Brewing Co. was swallowed up in corporate mergers and the brewery building was turned over to the roasters of upscale coffee, who replaced the red R with a green T for Tully’s.