Legendary Drinking Bear Returns to Tacoma for Gaming, Giving


A beer-drinking bear from the 1880s has time traveled into a video game to deliver JayRay’s holiday message and give back to the community this season.

According to the history books (OK, legendary storytellers), the Tacoma Hotel welcomed seven presidents and, most famously, one 800-pound bear named Jack. Raised in the hotel since he was a cub, Jack was admired for drinking beer from a mug without spilling a drop on the hardwood floor of the hotel’s 80-foot-long bar and billiards room.

Jack returns to Tacoma this season, ready to take on two modern trends: video games and “dry” January. Yep, the masterful boozing bear has to travel past Tacoma bars and landmarks to get to a holiday party safely.

Game players use their computer keyboard to help Jack dodge flying beer steins, cocktail glasses and bartenders. The bear passes by Old City Hall, the Tacoma Dome, the Narrows Bridge and the museum district before hopping a ferry to the party in Gig Harbor.

Top-scoring gamers could win $500 to be donated to their favorite local charity.

JayRay team members created the game concept as a fun, memorable way to send the agency’s annual holiday greetings to clients and contacts.

“Most of us are weary from another year of online meetings. Playing a video game could be the mental break we all need!” said Bridget Baeth, JayRay senior advisor and principal.

Traditionally the agency includes a charitable element in its highly anticipated holiday card. In the Jack the Bear game, JayRay will donate $500 to three local nonprofits, selected by the people with the top three highest scores.

The competitive phase of the game ends at midnight January 16. However, the link will stay live for those who want to continue to put Jack through his paces.