We generally think of craft beer as a contemporary phenomenon, but that’s far from the truth. In 1978, Charlie Papazian played a crucial role in the federal green light on homebrewing in the United States, but even before that, a man named Fritz Maytag was planting the seeds for what kicked off craft brewing as we know it today. The brew was Anchor Steam beer and the brewery was Anchor Brewing Co.
Maytag came from a family of successful appliance manufacturers, but rather than pursuing a career in refrigerators and washer-dryers, he let his love for beer shape his destiny. In 1965, he acquired a 51 percent stake in the Steam Beer Brewing Company, which was on the brink of failure. What followed was a tumultuous path of flukes and failures, but it was experimentation mixed with an undying passion for making great beer that eventually led to Maytag’s success.
Fritz Maytag was marketing unique, local, small-batch beers to a public that was bombarded by national commodity brands at every turn. It’s the stuff of beer industry legend, and many point to it as the official birth of American craft brewing.
Joining “Taplines” to tell us how the “Gentleman Brewer” handled his first few years at the helm of this storied brewery is Dave Burkhart, a decades-long Anchor employee, the author of “The Anchor Brewing Story,” and a personal friend of Fritz’s to this very day. Tune in for more.