Fritz Maytag: Burch and Eckhardt had to get their know-how from somewhere. (This was before the World Wide Web, kids.) A major fount of information in the 1960s and 1970s happened to be the owner of the sole American brewery then making small batches of beer with traditional ingredients: Fritz Maytag of the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco. Not only was Maytag a veritable encyclopedia of brewing techniques, he was accessible, happy to give brewery tours, sometimes one-on-one, as he did for Eckhardt in 1968 and Burch in 1974.
It was a win-win: The early homebrewing luminaries got their information and, through them, Maytag turned more consumers on to his product. There was one catch: Because homebrewing was still illegal, Maytag didn’t want his or his brewery mentioned in the guides. Burch, in fact, didn’t thank Maytag by name until a 1992 reissue of Quality Brewing.
Charlie Matzen: The American Homebrewers Association started the Learn to Homebrew Day. Two twenty-something men started the American Homebrewers Association. One, Charlie Papazian, is a familiar figure not only to homebrewers, but to consumers and those in the industry. Papazian has for years been president of the Brewers Association, the trade group for smaller U.S. breweries. He is also the author of the best-selling homebrewing guide ever, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (and its earlier iterations, which go all the way back to homemade versions in the 1970s).
The other AHA founder, Charlie Matzen, is not nearly as heralded. A few years after he and Papazian launched the group in Boulder, CO, in 1978, Matzen left its day-to-day machinations to throw himself into real estate, though he would serve as a judge at homebrewing competitions and on the AHA’s board of directors.
Matzen and Papazian announced their new group to the world through a magazine they called Zymurgy, after the term for the study of yeast fermentation. The inaugural issue in December 1978 carried notice of homebrewing’s federal legalization that October. “This probably isn’t an astonishing piece of news,” the article noted, “as beer-making has been legal in the minds of homebrewers for years.”
Tom Acitelli is the author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution. Reach him on Twitter @tomacitelli.