Victory lap for the Rainier 'R': Restored icon goes on tour

SEATTLE - Expect a warm glow of nostalgia today when a replica of the original Rainier Beer neon "R" tours several Seattle neighborhoods.

Local sign fabricators Western Neon will mount the replica on a flatbed truck at its Georgetown shop. Then the 'R' will visit Ballard, Queen Anne, Fremont, Belltown, and Capitol Hill.

Sponsors are calling the tour the "R Crawl."

Later this week the recreated 'R' will return to the south Seattle rooftop where the original 'R' stood for decades

"It's extremely exciting to get a historical landmark back that really is an icon for the Seattle skyline," says Andre Lucero, president of Western Neon.

The 12-foot-high Rainier sign graced the top of the Rainier Brewery in south Seattle from the 1950s until 2000. When Tully's Coffee took over the space, it replaced the R with a similar sign, a big green 'T.'

Last month,Tully's removed the T in preparation for the move to its new headquarters on Western Avenue near Pike Place Market.

Pabst Brewing Co., owner of the Rainier Beer brand, paid to construct a replica of the 'R.' The original 'R' is part of the collection at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

The replica 'R' will take its place atop the old Rainier Brewery during yet another PR event, Thursday at 4 p.m.