Anchor Brewing Is Shutting Down After 127 Years

Jess Lander and Caleb Pershan, reporting sad news for the San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco institution Anchor Brewing Co., the godfather of steam beer, is shutting down after 127 years. The brewery was “losing millions of dollars a year,” said Anchor spokesperson Sam Singer. “Economic pressures have made the business no longer sustainable.”

Anchor has already brewed its final beer at the historic Potrero Hill brewery — “there’s no steam coming out of the brewery now,” said Singer — and notified the brewery’s 61 employees of the shutdown early Wednesday morning. The brewery’s taproom, Anchor Public Taps, will continue operating until at least Aug. 1, possibly longer.

The news comes one month after Anchor announced it was halting national distribution and discontinuing its beloved Christmas Ale, which it has produced since 1975. When Japanese beer giant Sapporo purchased Anchor in 2017, the company was already “in the red,” according to Singer, who said that revenue is down by two-thirds since 2016. The pandemic was especially challenging for the brewery, added Singer, as it typically sells most of its beer through bars and restaurants. The brewery attempted to expand its retail distribution but was “unable to break through in a big enough way,” he said.

What a shame. “Drink local” is always good advice, and Anchor Steam in San Francisco was always delicious. I’m not sure why they ever distributed Anchor Steam nationally, though — it was one of the worst-travelling beers I’ve ever had. Local and fresh: delicious. Trucked to the east coast: meh. Before I tried it in San Francisco I always wondered what the fuss was about.

I knew something was wrong when they debuted their absurd redesign. Whatever was wrong, it sure as shit wasn’t their distinctive brand packaging.

Wednesday, 12 July 2023