Many of our great leaders and cultural heroes have been immortalized in bronze, and so too are our corporate mascots such as the Hills Bros. Coffee Drinker statue in San Francisco.
Completed in 1992 by sculptor Spero Anargyros (1915-2004), the bronze statue stands in Hills Bros. Plaza, a public square built adjacent to the original Hills Bros. Coffee factory. Known officially as the “Taster,” the mascot is meant to honor the drink’s Ethiopian roots by portraying a be-turbaned man in flowing Middle Eastern robes taking a long drink of coffee. The mascot appeared on the first vacuum-sealed can of Hills Bros. Coffee, and the nine-foot-tall statue in the plaza is a near-exact recreation of the advertising illustration originally designed by an artist known as Briggs, If Hills Bros. coffee can’t wake people up, it’s possible that a towering corporate mascot will.
A plaque on the statue’s base reads as follows: “Created by sculptor Spero Anargyros, the familiar bearded figure in turban and flowing robe logo was originally designed for Hills Bros. by a local San Francisco artist just before the turn of the century. In 1900, when Hills Bros originated the process for vacuum-packing coffee, this trademark appeared on the first Hills Bros vacuum-packed coffee can. It has lived on through all the years as a lasting symbol of coffee quality.”