Longtime San Francisco beermaker Anchor Brewing will shut its doors after nearly 130 years, the company announced on Wednesday, blaming declining sales and economic pressure as inflation remains high and competition in the blossoming craft brewing industry intensifies.
The San Francisco brewery–which first opened in the 1890s and is owned by Japanese brewer Sapporo–has already shuttered brewing operations, but will continue to package and distribute the beer it has through the end of the month or until that beer runs out.
The move comes after Anchor’s sales volume dropped roughly 10% last year to 65,000 barrels, and had fallen by more than 24,000 barrels from 2018, when it produced 89,612 barrels, according to data published by the Brewers Association’s New Brewer Magazine, below major regional craft brewing companies including Lagunitas (860,000 barrels in 2022), Founders Brewing (455,000), Stone Brewing (376,347) and Goose Island (495,000).
Anchor Brewing spokesperson Sam Singer said the move also comes after Anchor’s “repeated efforts” for more than a year to find a potential buyer, adding that the company is holding out hope a buyer could come forward in the brewery’s liquidation process.
Anchor Brewing gave its employees 60 days notice, and said it would provide “transition support and separation packages.”
A San Francisco stalwart making beer since 1896, Anchor Brewing was acquired by Japanese mega brewing company Sapporo Holdings Ltd. for $85 million in 2017, but has faced a gauntlet of financial woes in recent years. Anchor Brewing co-owner Keith Greggor told the Los Angeles Times after the sale that the company had “been evaluating the future for some time,” admitting the longstanding beer company “needed to have a stronger partner to achieve our long-term goals.” When Anchor Brewing cut back its distribution to the state of California last month, brewery spokesperson Sam Singer told SFGate the brewery had been struggling with rising product costs as a result of high inflation, and that a “highly competitive craft beer market” and “historically costly steam brewing technique” compounded the issue.
Anchor Brewing’s closure marks the latest San Francisco company to close its doors in the city, and comes as a group of San Francisco tech companies–including Alphabet, Salesforce and Apple–conduct major rounds of layoffs. Companies that have left San Francisco include Old Navy, Nordstrom, T-Mobile, Saks Off 5th and Office Depot.
S.F.’s Anchor Brewing is shutting down after 127 years (San Francisco Chronicle)