The Royal Brewery Building
The Royal Brewery building on Queen Street is a landmark in the downtown area. It features a distinctive decorative facade and is the oldest remaining structure associated with brewing in the state of Hawaii. It was constructed from materials shipped in from San Francisco and New York in 1899-1900, and was the original home of Primo, Hawaii’s local beer. It is probably the oldest brewery in Hawaii besides being the only building of its type in the state.
In 1899, a New York architect designed a brewery building to the specifications of the Honolulu Brewing and Malting Company. The- basic structure of the four story building is a steel frame encased in concrete (up to 18″ thick in some interior walls) with a decorative brick facade. The basic design follows closely the traditional forms and detailing of many mainland breweries of the same period. The main facade, fronting 105 feet on Queen Street, is of grand proportion and a rare architectural statement with its three-story brick arches, corbels, and intricate patterns reflecting the finest masonry craftsmanship of the time. The interior spaces are broken up into various sizes and shapes to accommodate the operation of brewing beer.
The main structural floors are of “I” beams approximately three feet on center covered with thick concrete slabs and formed to create vaulted ceil- ings for the rooms below. To further strengthen the steel and concrete, structural steel tie rods were placed in the concrete slabs running the .complete width of the building.
Currently, the building is in good basic structural condition although it has received no maintenance since it last produced beer in 1960. Many of the secondary buildings around the main structure have been torn down and most of the area is being used as a parking lot although the main building still stands as a unique structure in Hawaii and an example of a type of industrial architecture once popular in the United States. The building is currently home to the Hawaii Community Development Authority.
The Royal Brewery is located at 553 South Queen Street in Honolulu. It is located next to the new Kaka’ako Fire Station.