Yes, folks, Anchor Brewing, America’s oldest craft brewery, has announced that it will be shutting down after 127 years in business. What’s happening? Why it’s happening? And what does it means for the world of craft beer?
At this moment, the brewing has stopped brewing altogether and is effectively shut down.
A few weeks back, Sapporo USA, the parent company of Anchor, surprised both the industry and fans by announcing the closure of the brewery. They cited a ‘combination of challenging economic factors and declining sales since 2016′ as the reasons behind this decision. In early September, the brewery’s assets, including its taprooms and recipes, are said to now be handed over to liquidators, potentially for an upcoming auction.
Anchor expressed deep gratitude to its employees and fans for their overwhelming support and love during this challenging period.
After Anchor Brewing halted its activities in July, a representative has been designated to manage the sale of the brewery’s assets. Despite several potential buyers expressing interest in acquiring the 127-year-old brand and preserving it, both the owners and the appointed representative have chosen to maintain a public silence regarding the ongoing process.
Why is Anchor Brewing shutting down?
This is bad news for fans who have enjoyed the iconic flagship brew : Anchor Steam Beer. With heavy pressure to compete in a saturated market, the pandemic delt a deadly blow to the brewery. Anchor’s main wedge in the market were the local taprooms and restaurants. When everything closed down in California, Anchor Brewing started to bleed revenue.
Anchor has been struggling with declining sales in recent years. This is partly due to the increased competition, but it’s also due to changing consumer tastes. The craft beer market is becoming increasingly competitive, with short-term trends increasingly leading consumer demand. illennials are more likely to drink wine and spirits than beer, and they’re also more interested in trying new and innovative craft beers.
For a historical brand, that goes directly against the current. The market is certainly getting more crowded, with major players consolidating their assets and scaling up their distribution. There are now over 8,000 craft breweries in the United States, and it’s hard for even the most established brands to stand out. Millennials are more likely to drink wine and spirits than beer, and they’re also more interested in trying new and innovative craft beers.
It also doesn’t help that Anchor’s parent company, Sapporo, has made a number of decisions that have alienated fans and employees. For example, Sapporo rebranded Anchor in 2021, giving it a more modern look. However, many fans felt that the new branding was too far removed from Anchor’s classic heritage.
Will Anchor Brewing really shut down?
Nothing is certain. Despite very clear announcements about the brewery closing down, employees of the brewery are taking matters in their own hand. On September 11, employees of the brewery launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise enough capital to buy back the company. Within a week, they had already raised over 90,000 $. That money is meant to cover the legal representation fees as well as pitching it to investors. Employees are supported by Project Equity, an organization promoting employee ownership.
The impact of Anchor Brewing’s closure on the craft beer industry
Anchor Brewing’s closure is a major loss for the craft beer industry. Anchor was one of the pioneers of the craft beer movement, and their beers were known for their quality and innovation. Anchor’s closure will also have a negative impact on the local economy, as Anchor was a major employer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
While Anchor Brewing may be shutting down, their legacy will live on in the hearts of craft beer fans everywhere. So, raise a glass to Anchor Brewing and to all the other great craft breweries out there!