Anchor Brewing Unveils Minimalist Labels

To appease traditionalists and celebrate its 125th birthday, the brewery is offering $1.25 six-packs for a limited time.

As the city changes, Anchor Brewing’s fussy old labels remain a reliable, well, anchor, to the past. 

Until now. 

The iconic San Francisco brewery has unveiled its first significant brand redesign since its revival in 1965. (Anchor traces its roots to 1897, allowing it to claim the mantle of the oldest craft brewery in America). The new labels have drawn some passionate reactions on social media, mostly of the negative variety.

To help ease the transition, the brewery is offering its longtime fans an olive branch. As of this writing, thirsty bargain hunters can head to and buy a $9 six pack of steam beer for just $1.25, in honor of the brewery’s 125th anniversary. Online purchases are limited to one six pack per person, and must be picked up at Anchor’s Potrero Hill brewery between Thursday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 31. 

So, back to those labels. The new design radically simplifies Anchor’s look, going for bold primary colors, and big, simple decorations. The design is in part meant to highlight the brewery’s name — Anchor — rather than its flagship beer — Anchor Steam — which has been a source of confusion in the past. 

Now, it will be pretty hard to confuse the brewery’s varieties: steam comes in yellow, the lager comes in green, the Liberty Ale comes in blue, and the porter comes in brown. Got it? 

However, Anchor’s embrace of millennial minimalism set some people off: 

Still others compared the branding to Twisted Tea or Landshark Lager. 

Later, Anchor Brewing responded to the criticism on their Instagram: “Though our labels have changed, the beer, brewery and people remain committed to the quality and craft that has made Anchor an icon. Anchor beers are still brewed by hand in SF in the same copper kettles using the same legendary recipes.”

You know what they say, don’t judge a beer by its label. Anchor pledges it will not be changing its recipes one bit. Cheers to that. 

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