There’s yet another bid for the bankrupt, 127-year-old Anchor Brewing Co., and the call is coming from inside the house, as brewery employees are launching a seemingly longshot bid to buy the company.
Both the Bay Area and global beer-drinking communities have been crying in their beer over last week's shock announcement that the iconic 127-year-old Anchor Brewing Co. was declaring bankruptcy and closing its doors permanently. But in the days following the announcement, numerous prospective buyers stepped forward, though it’s unclear if Japanese beer brand Sapporo, which acquired Anchor Brewing in 2017, is taking any of these bids seriously.
Now another hat has been thrown in that prospective buyer ring. Beverage industry publication Vine Pair reports that Anchor Brewing employees have teamed up and sent Sapporo an offer letter to buy the brewery, with hopes of turning the palace into a worker-owned co-op. (Rainbow Grocery operates under a similar model.)
Welp. Here ya go. Time to put everyone’s love of this brand to the test. Let’s work this out together and bring back what we’ve almost lost. https://t.co/sENSAf39qZ— Anchor Union (@anchorunionSF) July 20, 2023
Vine Pair’s report seems confirmed by the Anchor Union’s enthusiastic retweeting of it. According to Vine Pair, the employees and their union representatives sent Sapporo a Wednesday letter saying “that workers of Anchor Brewing have met, discussed, and decided to launch an effort to purchase the brewery and run it as a worker co-op.”
“We are not asking for a handout or charity,” ILWU Local 6 business agent Pedro de Sá reportedly wrote in the letter. “All we want is a fair shot at being able to continue to do our jobs, make the beer we love, and keep this historic institution open. We do not want the brewery and brand we love to be sold off before we even had a chance.”
Anchor employees voted to unionize in March 2019.
Yes this idea sounds exciting, but it seems like a longshot that Sapporo would seriously entertain this offer. Though it may not be Sapporo’s decision. According to the press release sent last week announcing the closure, “all decisions about the future will be in the hands of the independent, third-party” California Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, whom they say will be “wholly responsible for liquidating the company’s assets and paying creditors.”
And do take heart, because the brewery has been declared dead before, but still found a white-knight savior to keep it going. Most notably, Fritz Maytag of Maytag appliance fame bought Anchor Brewing Co. out of bankruptcy in 1965 and turned it into the craft beer brand we know today.
An SFGate report last week said that Anchor would be winding down production “completely at the end of the month.” So there’s still a little time left for some manner of negotiation or a deal, but there are only 12 days left until the end of the month.
Image: @ioiflower via Twitter