News Anchor Brewing Bought by Billionaire with Intentions to Restart Brewery

Hamdi Ulukaya, the CEO and founder of the Chobani yogurt brand has purchased Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. Ulukaya has acquired the intellectual property, brewing equipment and real estate with intentions to restart operations and keep the iconic recipes and packaging.

Most notably about the news is that the deal includes the 2 acres of property in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. Most in the industry had felt that the real estate would be sold separately from the brewing equipment and brand rights to maximize the sale price.

But it seems clear that Ulukayai is all in on restoring the San Francisco brand. In a press release, Ulukaya said “What an exciting time for San Francisco and Anchor Brewing. Both are experiencing the magic of rebirth. I have fallen in love with this city, its history, grit and charm. I believe brands born in places like this are incredibly special and must be treasured, respected and loved. San Francisco is at the heart of Anchor Brewing, and Anchor embodies so much of what makes this city great.”

Ulukaya posted a short video of himself explaining his intent and love for the brand. In it he called Anchor Brewing the “grand jewel” and said “I think the best time of San Francisco is yet to come.”

Ulukaya is 51 years old and was born in Turkey. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Chobani, one of the top selling yogurt brands in the country. He purchased a defunct yogurt factory in upstate New York in 2005 and achieved over $1 billion in annual sales in less than five years after its launch, becoming the leading yogurt brand in the U.S. by 2011 according to Wikipedia.

It may be harder to achieve such lofty success in the craft brewing industry. Many have tried. But none have successfully reinvigorated an existing brand or past brand, due mainly to the extremely unusual particulars inherent in the alcohol business such as the regulatory structure and cumbersome distribution channel. One has to wonder what the reaction will be when Ulukaya learns for the first time what franchise laws are.

But for those with a love of Anchor, there is hope. And only time will tell whether the brand will be able to once again rise from the ashes.

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