Unionized workers at Anchor Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in the United States, want to buy the 127-year-old company and run it as a cooperative to save it from closure, a union official said.
The company said last week that economic pressures, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, had left it “no choice but to make the sad decision to cease operations.” But the employees, who were given 60 days notice and promised a severance package, have proposed a way to keep the beer going.
According to a resolution letter from Anchor employees, the workers have “decided to begin an effort to purchase the brewery and run it as a labor cooperative”. Pedro de Sa, business agent for International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6, whose members include Anchor employees, sent the proposal Wednesday to Mike Minami, president of Sapporo USA, which owns the company.
“All we wish for is that we can continue to operate, brew the beer we love, and keep this historic institution open,” the letter said. “We don’t want a brewery and brand we love to be sold before we’ve had a chance.”
on Wednesday, Unionized Anchor Workers posted a link On VinePair article on Twitter: “Time to test everyone’s love for this brand. Let’s work together on this and bring back what we have almost lost.
Anchor spokesman Sam Singer would not comment on the offer Thursday, but said about two dozen investors and individuals have expressed interest in acquiring Anchor Brewing Company’s assets.
“It is heartening to see so many people stepping up to possibly carry forward an iconic San Francisco company and beer tradition,” said Mr. Singer. “We are hopeful that Anchor will be bought and continue in the future, but that decision will be in the hands of the liquidators and is dependent on offers being made by potential buyers.”
Japanese beer giant Sapporo acquired The company, which was founded in 1896, was valued at approximately $85 million in 2017. In 2019, anchor workers voted to unionize, Description of Inadequate wages and unfair working conditions.
Mr. de Sa said in an interview on Thursday that he met with 39 workers who are union members and represent about two-thirds of the brewery’s workforce. In a meeting at the plant on Wednesday, employees agreed to form a committee to look into the bylaws and take further steps to compete for ownership.
Mr. de Sa said, “It was agreed to form a cooperative and try to buy it from Sapporo, and we informed the company the same day.” “We are expecting that the company will pay a fair wage to the employees.”
But on 2 August the liquidation process of the company was in danger of starting.
“The deadline is very short,” said Mr. de Sa. “As far as we know, the company is being sold for parts, and we want enough time to make serious bids.”
When the shutdown was announced on July 12, ILWU Local 6 described it as the “sad result” of a large corporation taking over a local institution from a base across the Pacific Ocean and “failing to understand how to market, sell and distribute a great product that has been loved for generations”.
Anker has stopped brewing but has said it will continue to sell beer until it runs out or the end of July, whichever comes first. anchor public tap Will sell the remaining inventory.
As news of the impending closure spread, fans lined up outside the tap room to buy T-shirts and cans of beer and help clear out the remaining stock. The Associated Press reported, In the Bay Area, NBC News reported this week that other investors expressed interest In saving the brewery.
For Sapporo, Anchor Steam was “just another line item in the budget,” the union said at the time, but the workers and the city of San Francisco “suffered the consequences.”