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Decoding Anchor: Finding the Packaging Date on Your Beer

Posted by at 7:36 pm | Category: Beer Backgrounds, Brewing Insights, Craft Beer History, Uncategorized 0

Anchor Brewing Dating System

Over the years, we’ve had a few iterations on our packaging dates. As of December 4, 2018, Anchor fans can now decipher the freshness of their brew with more ease than ever.

Because we want our customers to enjoy our beer at its freshest, we changed our packaging date coding system away from our traditional coding to a more easily readable format of Month Day Year. The first official bottling with the new code was on 12/4/2018, or 120418 as it appears on bottles.

Why the change? To be frank, we take the quality and the freshness of our beers very seriously. At Anchor Brewing, we began using a date code on our bottles long before other breweries began placing codes on their beers. Up until the 1990s, most breweries just put notches on the labels, which some breweries still do today. Until 1991, we utilized a clock-face that showed the bottling month as one of 12 small notches around the main label. This was done mainly for internal purposes, but former Anchor owner Fritz Maytag devised a code that was relatively easy to decipher and made sense to him at the time. Post-October 1991, our code worked like this:

The first character was always numeric and represented the last digit of the year. The second character was always alpha and represented the month by using the first letter of the month unless that letter has already been used:

January: J
February: F
March: M
April: A
May: Y
June: U
July: L
August: G
September: S
October: O
November: N
December: D

The third character in the code was either alpha or numeric and told the day of the month. The first 26 days were represented by the alphabet with the remaining days listed as:

27th through 29th = 7 through 9
30th = 3
31st = 1

An example of a date code would be: January 20, 2012 = 2JT

Still following? Many of our fans grew to know and love this quirky “Fritzian” code, so we kept it on the bottles as other brewers began to use “born on” and “best before” dates. While we will always have a soft spot for this classic coding system, our hope is that Anchor fans will use this transparent new system to raise the freshest Anchor possible.

 


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