Morrow County Chronicles  Morrow County Historical Society
Volume XV, 1996

"Heppner's Early Brewer, J.B. Natter"  by Tami Sneddon

    J. B. Natter purchased the Heppner City Brewery from William Roche.  The brewery was first established in the 1870s by A. J. Stevenson who later sold it to Roche.  The brewery consisted of a malting and sprouting house, a cellar dug into the hillside for cool storage, and a saloon.  It was located on Main Street where the U.S. Forest Service building is currently located.

    Advertising for Natter's Heppner City Brewery can be found in the early issues of the Heppner Gazette in 1883.  (Natter was also one of the original investors in the Heppner Gazette.)  Advertising boasted "Superior quality of beer" as well as lunches, seafood, cheeses and cigars.  Later advertising for Natter's Brewery suggested "Nothing so good... as J.B. Natter's beer."  In 1890 Natter leased his business and it was then known as the Columbia Brewery Depot with August Buchler as proprietor.  Natter took the brewery back again in 1895 and it was known as Natter's Brewery, and later the Brewery Saloon.

    In 1902, J.B. Natter retired from the brewery business.  His son Frank took over the business until Frank's demise from a fatal gunshot wound on November 14, 1904.  Fred McCarter took charge of the Brewery Saloon soon after.

    In later years the building was referred to as the Star Brewery and after vacated was occupied by the Red Cross in 1918 for sewing rooms.  On July 4, 1918, Heppner had its second major fire within a month and the brewery building was among the many businesses and residences destroyed, though the Natter home behind the brewery survived the fire.

    J.B. Natter was born in Austria, the son of Joseph S. and Mary M. Natter.  He was educated in the public schools of Austria and emigrated to the United States at the age of 19.  In early life he acquired a thorough knowledge of the brewing business.  In 1859 he traveled by way of the Isthmus of Panama and worked as a brewer in teh Northwest before making his home in Heppner in 1882.

    After Natter retired from the brewery business, he became a director and vice-president of the First National Bank of Heppner.  J.B. and wife Anna Matilda Minert had two sons, Frank and a twin that died at birth.  They also raised Anna's niece, Katie Minert.  J. B. Natter died on August 4, 1922, and Anna died on November 16, 1939.

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