Origination of an Icon

Today is Terminator’s 34th birthday celebration (pints for $4.50! Growler fills just $9! 20% off Terminator merch!) — but here is some fascinating company history about one of our flagship beers.

Behold, the original Hammerhead logo, compliments of McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn, conceived on February 1, 1992.

A triumphant, confident pose, overalls and rolled-up shirtsleeves, a pint of beer raised in victory. Hammerhead be thy name.

This iconic McMenamins logo, now found on t-shirts and Tripster biceps across the Pacific Northwest, was modeled after French and German ads from the 1920s that idolized the working class.

In Lyle’s own words about his creation process:

After the usual false starts and frustrated erasures, the local radio station began to play some rousing music, and it all fell together. The ideas popped in one after another and I couldn’t draw it fast enough. An unusually large amount of the sketch survived into the final version.

The idea of a character with a hammer for a head is hardly original, but the beer had already received a name that practically demanded some kind of bold, expansive and yet deliberately ridiculous image.

The logo was born almost six years to the day after the beer itself, first brewed on 1/30/86. Today, the first Hammerhead artwork based on Lyle’s pencil draft now hangs at McMenamins Mall 205 (shown here).

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