Anchor Brewing Co. Acquired By Sapporo, Distillery To Spin Off

On Thursday, California's oldest craft brewery, Anchor Brewing Company, announced that Sapporo Holdings Limited is acquiring the Potrero Hill-based brewer with plans to grow the brand internationally. 

According to a press release, the transaction is expected to close on August 31st, but terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Anchor Distilling Company, which produces a variety of spirits, is not part of the transaction and will become an independent company. 

Photo: Chris Martin/Flickr 

“When you take a brand like Anchor, its very soul exists in the heart of San Francisco,” the company's president and CEO Keith Greggor told The Chronicle. “Of all the people we spoke to, [Sapporo] respected Anchor the most, what it stood for and the importance of its connection with San Francisco.”

Sapporo representatives said the acquisition is part of a strategy to mark its 150th anniversary by "[becoming] a company with highly unique brands in the fields of alcoholic beverages, food, and soft drinks around the world. "

“Anchor Steam Beer is a San Francisco original, inspiring a new generation of brewers and beer lovers around the world,” said Masaki Oga, president and representative director of Sapporo Holdings.

“Both companies share a brewing philosophy backed by long histories and this transaction enables both Sapporo Group’s US business and Anchor Brewing Company’s global business to make a further leap forward.”

Copper brewing kettle at Anchor Brewing. | Photo: Ian Brown/Flickr

Greggor said in order to continue to operate and expand Anchor's market reach, a new partnership was eminent. The new owners plan to continue brewing in the existing facility.

Anchor’s management team will continue to manage day-to-day operations and will maintain the Potrero Hill brewery, but will now benefit from additional financing and resources. 

The new owner will invest in the brewery to streamline production and plans to "export Anchor [beers] to new international markets using its global distribution resources," according to the release.

”Sapporo committed to investing in the Potrero Hill brewery until we exceed capacity of that brewery, but I have no idea when that would be,” Greggor told SFGate. “We are currently running at about 55 to 60 percent of that capacity.”

Additionally, plans to open Anchor’s new public taproom concept across the street on De Haro are still moving forward and have Sapporo's support.

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Anchor brewing co acquired by sapporo distillery to spin off