As yet, no buyer has step up to purchase the now-closed Anchor Brewing Co, leaving the intellectual property rights to Anchor Steam and other Anchor brands still unknown. But the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has recently acquired objects and archival materials from Anchor for its collections. The museum collected the company’s business records and a selection of items including brewing charts and photographs.
Other items obtained include blueprints, signage, tools used in the brewery and lab, a wood barrel used to transport “steam beer” to 19th-century taverns, sample tiles from the brewhouse floor in custom “Anchor blue” and other records and materials related to the brewery’s history and its former owner Fritz Maytag III.
“This donation is significant to our American brewing history collection because it preserves the history and contributions of Anchor Brewing Co. of San Francisco, California,” said museum curator Theresa McCulla. “This tremendously influential business is widely recognized as the first American microbrewery. The ingenuity and dedication to the craft of brewing modeled at Anchor Brewing Co. inspired generations of brewers and changed the course of the industry.”
These artifacts join a growing collection that is part of the American Brewing History Initiative. Part of the long-standing Smithsonian Food History Project, the museum began the American Brewing History Initiative in 2016 with funding from the Brewers Association, the Boulder, Colorado-based not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.
More on this story and about the Smithsonian’s craft brewing archives here.