In a stunning, but not surprising announcement, Anchor Brewing Company, the iconic first craft brewery in the modern era, will cease all operations and liquidate the business.
Although founded in 1896, it became America’s first modern-day “craft brewery” when Fritz Maytag purchased the San Francisco brewery in 1965 and returned it to brewing authentic and traditional beers. It was sold to Sapporo in 2017 by former Skyy vodka executives Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio who purchased it from Maytag in 2010.
Anchor Brewing reportedly said that attempts to find a buyer over the last year were unsuccessful but left open that they would consider a buyer during the liquidation process. This will almost certainly trigger a flurry of grassroots and other efforts to save the historic business, but without a doubt, all viable breweries who could and would purchase the business have been contacted in recent months – to no avail.
The demise of Anchor is fitting in a way. Although craft beer has evolved significant since the segment gained its legs in the early 1980’s, the industry has suffered like never before in recent years. The struggles were noticeable pre-pandemic and have accelerated since. Craft beer is seeing its slowest growth rate in its history, as consumers increasingly shift interest to other choices.
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