The announced death of Anchor Brewing Co. last week was met with some immediate optimism that the brand, and the historic brewery, could maybe see some new life under a new owner at some point. And some potential takers are lining up.

While the demise of Anchor Brewing and the stoppage of production of Anchor's classic steam beer last week came as a depressing shock to many, the story came with a prominent asterisk. In its 127 years, Anchor has died before, or had a near-death period, and someone has always come along to revive it. Most notably, appliance heir Fritz Maytag bought the brewery out of bankruptcy in 1965 and turned it into a pioneering craft beer brand.

What happens next is anyone's guess, but as the Chronicle reports today, owner Sapporo is opting for an alternative to bankruptcy called Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC). Anchor is entering into this process in which a designated, third-party Assignee will take control of the company's assets and will then begin entertaining bids.

Three local people, unaffiliated with each other, have all come forward and told the Chronicle that they're interested in buying and reviving the brewery — and one even sounds like he has potential investors lining up.

One is Mike Walsh, who tells the Chronicle that he's lived two blocks away from Anchor's headquarters for the last 30 years. Walsh has ties to Narragansett Beer, which itself was saved from corporate-ownership doom in 2005 when its current owners bought it from Pabst Brewing Company. Narragansett has already launched a petition of solidarity to gather support in the craft beer community to save Anchor.

And Walsh has already launched a website called Raising the Anchor, with a form for interested parties, and he tells the Chronicle that over the weekend he already had 15 inquiries from people he "never guessed would be interested."

SF native Kyle Whithycombe tells the Chronicle that he just sold a juice company last year, and he's interested in putting in an offer as well. He intends to whittle Anchor's brewing back down to its core products, the steam beer and Liberty Ale, and perhaps limit distribution just to the Bay Area.

Tech worker and longtime SF resident Steve Matthews also tells the paper that he and a group of friends are contemplating an offer of their own, and his idea would be to produce a reality TV show centered on the process of reviving the Anchor brewery. One working title: "How many tech idiots does it take to run a brewery?"

Whether any of these potential offers will win out, we can't know. But what's for certain is that Anchor probably won't fade off with a whimper and be quickly forgotten — it's a beloved brand with a lot of sentimental and historical value to many, and its fate seems far from sealed.

Previously: No More Anchor Steam Beer: 127-Year-Old Brewery Shutters In San Francisco

Photo: Mike Walsh/Raising the Anchor