Anchor Brewing Closing After 127 Years

Wallowing in red ink, Anchor Brewing Co., is closing its doors on Potrero Hill, San Francisco.  The brewery was "losing millions of dollars a year," said Sam Singer, spokesman.  "Economic pressures made the business no longer sustainable."

Employees were notified of the closure by email Wednesday (7/12).  Its taproom will remain open until Aug. 1, maybe later.

The pandemic and inflation delivered a double punch to the brewery that sold most of its product to restaurants and bars.

Last month the company ended national distribution and said it was discontinuing its Christmas Ale, which it first brewed in 1975. Anchor Brewing was purchased by Sapporo in 2017, but it was "already in the red," Singer said. Revenue thus far this year is down  by two-thirds, he added.

Anchor was already losing money when Sapporo purchased it in 2017 from a local investment group that had purchased it from Fritz Maytag when it was about to close its doors.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Maytag explained why he bought Anchor, a company deeply in the red in 1965 with no apparent sign of profitability. "I was just enthralled with the idea of a business that had character, and history, and curiosity. Plus it was so little money. It was nothing. I didn’t realize, even then, how many debts they had. I had to pay the debts in order to continue. We couldn’t buy malt. We couldn’t get power. We couldn’t do anything without paying the debts," he said.  It took 10 years before Anchor was profitable.

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