The 120-year-old San Francisco brewery was instrumental in America's early craft beer scene.
While breweries continue to pop up across the United States at an alarming rate, craft beer sales have slowed to their lowest growth year since 2004. However, that doesn't mean that mega-breweries aren't still eager to tap into the craft market, as is evidenced by Sapporo's recent acquisition of San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company.
The 121-year-old brewery helped launch America's craft beer movement and is most well-known for their signature Anchor Steam and Anchor Porter varieties. Once the sale is finalized, Anchor Brewing will be sold to the Japanese mega-brewery for $85 million.
Founded in 1896, Anchor ushered in a new style of beer called "California common," what the brewery calls "steam beer." In 1965, Anchor came close to bankruptcy, but was saved by Fritz Maytag, who would go on to reintroduced out-of-fashion styles—a dark porter, dry-hopped ale, barley wine and a Christmas ale—that were all but extinct at the time in the United States. 45 years later in 2010, Maytag sold the brewery to the current owners, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, who recently accepted the deal with Sapporo.
According to reports from Anchor’s reps, brewing operations will remain in San Francisco and they insist that the recipes will not be altered. Additionally, Anchor claims that the company will open a neighboring taproom across from the brewery after the sale and that they will be able to overhaul their canning and production facilities.
Anchor joins a growing number of craft breweries that are selling to larger corporations. Earlier this year, Asheville's Wicked Weed was purchased by AB InBev's The High End, a division of the massive brewer focused on acquiring smaller producers. While Wicked Weed was not the first craft brewery to sell, and certainly won't be the last, this sale in particular caused a larger stir in the craft brewing world, even eliciting Austin-based Jester King Brewery to publicly state that they will no longer carry Wicked Weed after the sale.
If all this news of craft breweries selling out to large corporations has you feeling a little queasy about the state of beer in America, may we suggest this probiotic beer to help ease your belly aching?