Smabs Sputzer (1956-2017)
"Anchor Steam Beer"

Anchor Brewing Company Shuts Down a Month after Limiting Distribution to California

July 13, 2023
Considered the oldest craft brewery in the U.S., the San Francisco beer maker has seen production slide ever since Sapporo purchased it in 2017.

The craft brewing industry took another hit, as San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing — considered the country’s oldest craft brewer — announced it will close its doors and has already ceased beer production.

Last month, Anchor announced that it was limiting distribution of its products to California and eliminating its popular Christmas Ale, but according to reports, that move wasn’t enough to overcome rising costs and expenses that continued to pile up.

Anchor Brewing traces its roots back to the time period shortly after the California Gold Rush, and it nearly went out of business in the 1960s before being purchased by Fritz Maytag, who proceeded to build the company up. Japanese brewer Sapporo purchased Anchor in 2017 for $85 million, but the acquisition didn’t pan out over time. Over the past six years, Sapporo has introduced the brewing of new flavors from Anchor, as well as a brand overhaul and selling Anchor beer in a can for the first time in its history.

According to reports, Anchor had seen production declines in every year under Sapporo’s ownership, with the exception of 2021. A company spokesperson told one news outlet that the brewery was losing millions of dollars a year. Beer production has already stopped at the brewery, but the taproom would remain open until the end of the month.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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