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How'd they build that? The new Rainier 'R'

How'd they build that? The new Rainier 'R' »Play Video

Most of the time, when an icon goes away, it disappears forever.

One Seattle landmark, however, recently proved this wrong.

The Rainier "R" stood atop the old Rainier Brewery for 50 years. In the late 90's, the brewery stopped brewing and the "R" fell into disrepair. Tully's Coffee moved in and replaced the "R" with their own 12-foot tall "T."

13 years later, Tully's had new owners. As they prepared to move their headquarters from the brewery, they asked Rainier if they'd be interested in putting an "R" back up where it used to be.

"We absolutely jumped at the chance," said K.C. Blinn, creative director at Rainier Beer. "It was pandemonium. People in the office freaked out, (knowing) how important this brand was to Seattle." 

"To be able to see that giant red beacon on your way into Seattle," he added, "(you) know that you're home."

Western Neon is located just around the corner from the brewery, and was asked to build the new "R". They had restored the old "R" for MOHAI, and they also built the Tully's "T."  Andre Lucero from Western Neon says during their restoration of the old "R," they took exact measurements for the neon they had to replace.

"We were able to use those documentations in order to build all our new patterns that we're working off of to make the new "R,"" Lucero said.

The new "R" is roughly the same size as the old one, but more modern and efficient. It's the same dimensions, but the new one is made from aluminum, not steel. The old incandescent light bulbs had to be changed all the time, but the new "R" uses efficient, long-lasting LED bulbs. The most noticeable change is that the southern facing side now also has light bulbs, not just the northern facing side like the original "R."

KOMO News got to tag along throughout the entire process. From building the new frame and bending the neon to the dramatic raising and lighting back above the brewery one month ago, here is your inside look at how they raised the new Rainier "R."