Breaking news in the craft beer world: 121-year-old San Francisco brewery Anchor Brewing was sold to the Japanese beer company, Sapporo Holdings. (Clinking of frosty opaque mugs of beer.)
In a sweet exclusive scoop, the Chronicle reports that Anchor's owners have been scouting possible buyers around the globe for the past year. In the end, Sapporo was the right fit.
"When you take a brand like Anchor, its very soul exists in the heart of San Francisco. Of all the people we spoke to, [Sapporo] respected Anchor the most, what it stood for and the importance of its connection with San Francisco," Anchor president and CEO Keith Greggor told the Chron.
It remains unclear what changes this sale might bring for fans of Anchor Steam beer, if any. According to Greggor, the brewery has no plans to move from its Potrero Hill home and in fact, plans to grow their production there. Also, Anchor Brewing will open a new tap room across the street from its DeHaro Street brewery.
Gregor explained to the Chron, "Sapporo committed to investing in the Potrero Hill brewery until we exceed capacity of that brewery, but I have no idea when that would be. We are currently running at about 55 to 60 percent of that capacity."
But plans for an Anchor expansion over at Pier 48 are probably a no-go now at least that's the Chron's guess. A change that might take place sooner rather than later is better canned Anchor beer. “We have a rather inefficient canning system. They would invest in much better canning equipment. We have a rather difficult, labor-intensive management of our glass [bottles]. Automatic palletizing, things like that, will be looked at."
As this tweet would imply, Anchor wants to reassure fans it's not going anywhere:
Anchor has proudly brewed handcrafted beer in the city of San Francisco, California for over 120 years. Here's to 120 more! pic.twitter.com/0VXPX7s36S— Anchor Brewing (@AnchorBrewing) August 3, 2017
Anchor Brewing has been serving up distinctive California-style beer since 1896, but it didn't become the craft beer powerhouse it is today until Fritz Maytag took over the company in 1967 and began to make his favorite kinds of beer. It's because of Maytag that beer lovers enjoy the likes of Anchor's Liberty Ale, Anchor Porter, and Christmas Ale. In 2010, Maytag sold the company to Greggor and Tony Foglio.
Sapporo, for the record, is a full two decades older than Anchor. According to its website, Sapporo is the oldest beer brand in Japan and the top-selling Asian beer in the United States.
“People bleed Anchor, they’re passionate about it. It’s that passion that makes handcrafted beers successful in terms of its quality. Maintaining that sense in the brewery is very important, but this is something that Sapporo understands and respects," said Greggor.
Anchor's line of spirits, which include Junipero Gin and Old Potrero whiskey, will become a separate company under the name Anchor Distilling and won't be owned by Sapporo.