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Anchor Brewing Launches "Drink Steam" Campaign

Anchor Brewing Anchor Steam

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Fritz Maytag's fateful purchase of Anchor Brewing, the company is redesigning its packaging with new artwork from in-house artist Jim Stitt and planning numerous events and social media posts, all under the name "Drink Steam." 

The fabled brewery was one of the earliest pioneers of craft beer -- before the movement even had a name.

Here is the release from Anchor:

San Francisco, CA (May 26, 2015) – Anchor Brewing Company announces its 

“Drink Steam” initiative, which introduces a package evolution and kicks off in 

San Francisco with events, print, digital and out-of-home showcasing curated 

photography and storytelling focused on craftsmanship and culture.  “Drink 

Steam” is an invitation to try America’s First Craft Beer. The campaign launches 

as the brewery and its fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American Craft 

Brewing Revolution, led by legendary owner Fritz Maytag who purchased Anchor 

Brewing Company on August 2, 1965 and changed the industry forever. 

“50 years ago, Fritz changed an entire industry built on mass production by 

holding steadfast to traditional brewing techniques and a commitment to quality.  

We wanted to celebrate the birth of the Craft Brewing Revolution, Fritz’ legacy, 

and introduce a whole new generation of beer lovers to Anchor Steam Beer,” 

said current Anchor Brewing CEO and President Keith Greggor. “You can drink 

an entire history of craft beer in our Taproom. Before the terms, ‘craft brewing’ 

and ‘micro-brewing’ had even been coined, Anchor had already brewed the first 

modern American Porter, IPA, Barleywine, and Wheat Beer.  It all started with 

Anchor Steam Beer though. The foundation of the brewery is built on Anchor 

Steam; it represents the past, present and future of craft beer.”

In 1965, during a meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory in San Francisco, a young 

Stanford graduate named Fritz Maytag, of the Maytag appliance family, learned 

that the makers of his favorite beer, Anchor Steam Beer, were soon to close their 

doors forever. On August 2, 1965, Maytag rushed to buy 51% of the struggling 

San Francisco craft brewery for just a few thousand dollars, rescuing Anchor 

from imminent bankruptcy. At only 27 years old, Maytag, alongside a team of 

dedicated brewers, revived Anchor Brewing by employing traditional brewing 

methods and enforcing strict sanitization methods, raising the quality of the beer.  

The small, but powerful team perfected Anchor Steam and soon began bottling 

the flagship brew in 1971 before introducing other iconic Anchor beers like 

Anchor Porter®, Liberty Ale®, Old Foghorn® Barleywine Style Ale, and 

Christmas Ale.  Although the industry now known as craft beer had not yet 

formed, Anchor Brewing was creating quality, handcrafted beer in a time when 

mass-produced lagers saturated the marketplace. Fritz inspired other small-scale 

breweries to do the same, ultimately leading the way for the American Craft 

Brewing Revolution, which all began with a fateful purchase 50 years ago. 

To celebrate this milestone, starting in May, Anchor Steam Beer will boast new 

packaging depicting a hand-illustrated label by long-time Anchor artist Jim Stitt.  

Artist Bill Hyde first illustrated the original Anchor label in collaboration with Fritz 

Maytag.  From Anchor Porter to Christmas Ale over the past few decades to 

Anchor California Lager and Anchor IPA in more recent years, Stitt has created 

scores of now-iconic Anchor labels.  This year, Stitt was given the opportunity to 

refresh the Anchor Steam artwork by employing vibrant watercolors and detailed 

illustrations that honor and uphold the classic Anchor Steam label from 1971.  

Along with the enhanced bottle and neck labels, Anchor Steam bottles will also 

include fun facts about Anchor’s rich history on the underside of each cap. 

The new Anchor Steam packaging arrives on shelves in time for the launch of 

Drink Steam.”  Anchor will team up with several Bay Area partners, including SF 

Weekly and Urban Daddy, to launch their social, digital, print, and out-of-home 

initiatives.  “Drink Steam” will tell the story of Anchor’s evolution through curated 

photography that celebrates craftsmanship and culture culminating with an 

invitation to try America’s First Craft Beer. 

Throughout 2015, Bay Area beer drinkers will be encouraged to “Raise Your 

Anchor” during Anchor Brewing’s “Drink Steam With –” event series; an intimate, 

one-night-only experience. “Drink Steam With –” will feature local makers, like 

Anchor, who use radically traditional techniques to craft photography, art, food, 

clothing and more!

Anchor Steam Beer is available nationwide, year-round in 6-packs, 12-packs and 

on draught at select bars and restaurants as well as at the Anchor Brewing 

Taproom in San Francisco. Find a brew near you using the Anchor Beer Finder.

Learn more about this historic brew by watching the Anchor Steam® Beer Video.