Beer Birthday: Fritz Maytag

Fritz Maytag, who bought the failing Anchor Brewery in 1965 and turned it into a model for the microbrewery revolution, celebrates his 79th birthday today. It’s no stretch to call Fritz the father of craft beer, he introduced so many innovations that are common today and influenced countless brewers working today. A few years ago, Maytag sold Anchor Brewery and Distillery to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio of the Griffin Group, but continues to make his York Creek wine and consult with Anchor as Chairman Emeritus. I was happy to see him again earlier this year when I was invited to introduce him to receive an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild in Sacramento. Join me in wishing Fritz a very happy birthday.

Fritz Maytag at the Anchor Christmas party in 2006 with fellow Anchor-ites John Dannerbeck and Mark Carpenter.

Fritz with the organizers of SF Beer Week at our inaugural opening event at Anchor in 2009.

Speakers at the Symposium: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth
Fritz with fellow speakers at the Herbst Museum Symposium a couple of years ago, from left: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth.

Ken Grossman, me and Fritz Maytag
Ken Grossman, me and Fritz at a beer dinner at Anchor celebrating Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary.

Me and Fritz Maytag
Me and Fritz at the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago.

Me and Fritz at the California Beer Summit this September.

Jack McAuliffe and Fritz in Sacramento earlier this year to accept an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild.


  1. Hop Stoopid says

    Cheers to the man who started it all and continues to inspire others in his endeavors. Above and beyond, he is good man. I know firsthand. I actually had some pretty lousy conversations years ago with Mr. Maytag. His interest was solutions to his technological challenges. Unfortunately, my interest was beer so I did the best I could to respond to any technical question with something about one of his beers. Happy Birthday Mr. Maytag

  2. Lizzie Brown says

    Many years ago I met Fritz Maytag on a beach where he was diving and bringing up old bottles from the sea bed! He invited me to come to his lovely house nearby for dinner with my traveling companion. We made some pesto sauce from basil leaves and had a delicious meal and said our goodbyes. I often wondered what happened to him…..and now I know! It would be such fun to be back in touch. Lizzie Brown

  3. Gary Gillman says

    Probably the single most important person in the renaissance of American craft brewing. I just had his porter (to me it’s still “his”) and it is still one of the best medium-gravity ABV porters out there. He is a legend and both the core and now expanded range of Anchor’s beers fully live up to his legacy and vision.

    There are some excellent interviews of Fritz Maytag on youtube, and anyone interested in his pivotal role in American brewing should watch them. One that is a favourite is when he tells of loading some fresh hops in the car to take to the brewery at the height of flower power in the 60’s. His discussion of the first Liberty Ale in ’76, which used Cascade but wasn’t quite like the one in regular production since ’83, also is very interesting.


    P.S. The other three I’d rank with or near him for influence are Charlie Papazian, Jack McAuliffe and Ken Grossman.

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