America’s oldest craft brewer Anchor Brewing will close after 127 years

America's oldest craft brewer Anchor Brewing will close after 127 years

It survived San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake, Prohibition, and both world wars. But recent economic pressures proved too much for the nation’s oldest craft brewer: After 127 years, Anchor Brewing Company is closing.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the company, founded in 1896, said the effects of the pandemic, inflation and a highly competitive market had left it “no choice but to make the sad decision to cease operations.” The company said employees were given 60 days’ notice and promised a severance package. Anker said that although it has stopped brewing, it will continue packing and distributing beer when it becomes available. It states that it will be sold on draft as long as the inventory lasts.

The sales of the brewing company were declining since 2016 and the sales of the company were declining in 2017. was acquired by Japanese beer giant Sapporo for about $85 million.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on Anchor’s heart,” company spokesman Sam Singer said by phone Wednesday. He pointed out that 70 percent of its products were sold in restaurants and bars. In 2021, Anchor Brewing seeks to adapt, rebranding and bottling and canning more of their beer to sell in grocery stores. But those changes “couldn’t offset the significant loss of sales,” he said. In a last-ditch effort to stay afloat, Anchor limited sales of its beer to California and ceased production of one of its products, Christmas Ale.

But expenses kept outstripping revenue. Mr. Singer said, “The main thing is that the anchor ran out of money, and also ran out of time.”

Anchor, the darling of many Americans and often credited with sparking the resurgence of craft beer in the 1960s, is the latest brewer to succumb to the pressures of a highly competitive market. In recent years, several small breweries have formed. absorbed by large companies, others have reworked their distribution model, or Close,

Regional brewers such as Anchor, which are large enough to sell their beer nationally but small enough to be considered a craft brewery, are the most vulnerable. They face competition from both local micro breweries and macro breweries like Coors or Miller, said Jarrett Hart, a scholar of agriculture and economics at the University of California, Davis, whose research has focused on craft beer. “They are losing profits year after year and they are generally losing market share,” he said.

Following the acquisition of Anchor by Sapporo, workers spoke What they described as inadequate pay and unfair working conditions, and voted to unionize in 2019.

Joan Marino, executive director of the Bay Area Brewers Guild, said Wednesday that given the dire economic reality, it’s no surprise Anchor has closed. But he said the news is still heartbreaking.

“Whenever a small brewery is bought by a large, multinational conglomerate, the calculus for their survival changes a little bit,” Ms. Marino said. “It’s not a surprise, but it is a shock and a very sad day to be here.”

Anchor Brewing said that despite repeated efforts to find a buyer for the brewery and its brands, there was no result. Mr Singer said the brewery has gone through several crises in its history, and is hopeful there may still be a chance for revival if a buyer steps forward during the liquidation process.

Mr. Singer said, “San Francisco’s flag is a phoenix rising from the ashes, and there have been many phoenix moments in the anchor’s history.” “But it is out of our hands now,” he said. “We can only hope for the best.”

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