Anchor Brewing Could Be Sold Tomorrow

Anchor Brewing Could Be Sold Tomorrow

Anchor Brewing Company Could Be Sold – As Soon as Tomorrow

We will likely hear an announcement tomorrow morning, possibly as early as 10 AM EST, on the fate of Anchor Brewing Company. One of the oldest breweries in America. (Yuengling Brewing holds the distinction of being the oldest ‘continuously operating’ craft brewery.)

Tomorrow morning, employees of Anchor Brewing Co. will gather at the historic San Francisco firm’s plant on Potrero Hill for an all-hands meeting with leaders from its parent company, Sapporo USA. There, VinePair has learned, they may be told that the 127 year-old company is being acquired by another Northern California craft brewery.

Representatives for Anchor, considered by many the pioneer of the American craft brewing movement, and Sapporo USA, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate that bought the iconic brewery in 2017, declined multiple requests for comment about this situation. Three current employees have confirmed that there’s a full-team meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m. local time. Normally, that wouldn’t warrant a story. But there’s nothing normal about what’s been going on at Anchor lately.

Anchor Brewing Could Be Sold As Soon as Tomorrow – VinePair

As we stated previously here on the blog, Anchor Brewing Company on June 11th, exactly a month ago, announced that they would cease distributing nationally. They also announced that they were stopping production of their legacy, and historic beer – Christmas Ale.

(Anchor Brewing Will No Longer Be Sold Nationally)

The last few years at Anchor Brewing Company has been tumultuous to say the least. In 2021 they underwent a rebranding that failed and fizzled out, leaving many of their workers disgruntled, annoyed, and some laid off.

Sapporo USA has been “picking fights” with the worker unions and causing issues as well. And of course, the announcement that Anchor Brewing Will No Longer Be Sold Nationally last month has done nothing to help things as well.

Roughly around the time of the announcement, Sapporo USA also removed and gutted much of their sales team, further leading many to see the writing on the wall and the brewery’s soon sale, demise, or closure coming.

Last week, the company had a mere 600 barrels of Anchor Steam scheduled to be brewed over the entire month of August, a tiny quantity that another current worker, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation from the company, described as “absurd.”

Workers are in the dark, their livelihoods hanging in the balance. One worker tells VinePair that Sapporo USA execs had been spotted inventorying the plant’s equipment, a worrying development. But: “They haven’t mentioned shit to us” about job security, another current employee says. “Upstairs,” shorthand for Anchor’s white-collar offices above the brewhouse, has become “a ghost town.” A gradual exodus has pared the close-knit workforce from around 85 people to just 30 or 40.

Anchor Brewing Could Be Sold As Soon as Tomorrow – VinePair

Tomorrow Morning’s Meeting

Tomorrow morning’s meeting will explain the future for Anchor Brewing Company; for the public at large, and its employees. Many of who say they are completely in the dark still about what is going on with their own jobs, employment, working environment, etc.

Talk has centered around sale of the company. There has also been talk of what Sapporo USA plans on doing with the brand, and iconic beers as well. Beers such as the Anchor Steam Beer, or the Liberty Ale (IPA); talk of moving production of key beers to the newly acquired (by Sapporo USA) Stone Brewing Company in San Diego is also a possibility.

Tomorrow should offer some answers. And they may not be all bad. A source close to the proceedings who is not authorized to speak publicly about it tells VinePair that rather than Anchor’s demise, tomorrow will be “a good day for [its] future.” At the 9 a.m. meeting, “Anchor is going to announce that it is being sold to another well-known craft brewer from Northern California.”

Anchor Brewing Could Be Sold As Soon as Tomorrow – VinePair

VinePair seems to think the leading candidates to possibly buy Anchor Brewing Company are Russian River Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing, and Drake’s Brewing Company. VinePair stated that none of the breweries have responded to comments by them however. As understandably, any breweries interested in the purchasing would be keeping things close to the vest at a time like this.

Acquisitions and mergings have been quite the rage in the brewing industry lately. With several happening – including the started and failed merge of Cape May Brewing and Flying Fish Brewery; the acquisition of Flying Dog Brewery by F.X. Matt Brewing Company (Saranac Brewing), and the acquisition of DuClaw Brewing Company by River Horse Brewing.

Tomorrow’s meeting will define the future for Anchor Brewing Company no matter what. So please stay tuned here to the blog for more details then.

A brief history on Anchor Brewing Company

A brief history on Anchor Brewing Company:

Anchor began during the California Gold Rush when Gottlieb Brekle arrived from Germany and began brewing in San Francisco. In 1896, Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought an old brewery at 1431 Pacific Avenue and named it Anchor Brewery. The brewery burned down in the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake, but was rebuilt at a different location in 1907.[7] There is no record of what Anchor did during Prohibition, but it resumed serving Steam Beer after Repeal, possibly as the only steam brewing company still in operation.[8] However the brewery burned down yet again within the year, and it relocated once more, this time to a building a few blocks away.

The brewery continued operations into the late 1950s, but suffered heavily from the country’s increasingly strong preference for the light lagers produced by the megabreweries.[9] Whereas there had been more than 4,000 breweries at the turn of the twentieth century, only 70 remained by the 1960s.[10]

Anchor shut its doors briefly in 1959, but was bought and reopened the following year.[11] By 1965, however, it was doing so poorly that it nearly closed again. Anchor’s situation continued to deteriorate largely because the current owners lacked the expertise, equipment, and attention to cleanliness that were required to produce consistent batches of beer for commercial consumption. The brewery gained a reputation for producing sour, bad beer.[12]

In 1965, Frederick Louis “Fritz” Maytag III bought the brewery, saving it from closure.[13] He purchased 51 percent of the brewery for several thousand dollars, and later purchased the brewery outright.[14] It moved to its current location near Potrero Hill in 1979.


In 1993, the company opened Anchor Distillery, a microdistillery in the same location as the brewery, and began making a single malt rye whiskey, named Old Potrero after the hill. In 1997, the microdistillery began producing gin, called JuníperoSpanish for juniper, and a reference to Fr. Junípero Serra, an important figure in San Francisco’s and California’s history. Recently they have also begun producing a Jenever style gin called Genevieve, using wheat, barley, rye, and the same herbal ingredients as their Junípero gin.

In 2010, Maytag sold the company to former Skyy vodka executives Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, from Novato, California, who planned to expand Anchor’s business while keeping its commitment to artisan brewing.[10] In 2013, the brewery launched Anchor California Lager, a re-creation of a historic Boca Brewing lager from the 1870s.[25] The brewery also announced a major expansion plan at Pier 48 in the Mission Rock neighborhood near Oracle Park,[26] which would expand Anchor’s maximum annual production capacity from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels.[26]

In 2014, Anchor officially announced Anchor IPA,[27] the first India Pale Ale in the brewery’s history.[1] Anchor ended production of its winter seasonal Bock in 2014[28] and replaced it a year later with Anchor Winter Wheat.[29]

In 2017, Anchor was purchased by Sapporo.[30]

In 2019, Anchor Brewing workers voted by an almost 2-to-1 margin to join the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, making Anchor Brewing – including Anchor Public Taps, the brewery’s on-site brew pub – the first unionized craft brewery in the United States.[31]

In 2021, Anchor Brewing announced a major makeover of their logo and beer labels. On the eve of their 125th birthday, the brewery replaced their vintage-looking labels with a large Anchor logo in a two-tone color schemes per beer. Most labels were not changed in decades or at all. The beer itself remained unchanged.

Anchor Brewing Company – History (Wikipedia)


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