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Anchor. The oldest craft brewery in the US has announced its closure. “Extremely difficult decision”

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The oldest craft brewery in U.S. history has announced its closure after more than 127 years. Anchor Brewing Company cited “difficult economic factors” as the reasons for the collapse. In the comments, however, there is also a lack of understanding of the business on the part of the Japanese investor who bought the brewery a few years earlier.

The San Francisco-based company announced it was ceasing operations “following a combination of tough economic factors and declining sales since 2016.” – according to a statement quoted by the website of the American CNN station. The service notes that craft breweries in particular have been hit hard by changing consumer habits, rising costs and continuing supply chain challenges.

Another problem was to be Sapporo, a Japanese brewing company that acquired the brand in 2017. Last month, employees complained to VinePair about Sapporo’s alleged mismanagement and lack of understanding of the craft beer culture and market in the United States. In addition, the 2021 rebranding of Anchor has been criticized for straying too far from the classic look.

127 years of history

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“This was an extremely difficult decision that Anchor made only after months of careful review,” said Anchor Brewing spokesman Sam Singer. He added that “the effects of the pandemic, inflationespecially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market leave the company with no choice but to make the sad decision to close the brewery, which opened in 1896.

Workers at the Anchor brewery, which employs 61 people, were given the legally required 60-day notice on Wednesday and will receive “transition support packages”. Production was immediately stopped, and the beer will be available for sale until the end of July.

Anchor Brewing Co.Yalonda M. James/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Image

Last month, Anchor cut national distribution, restricting sales to California only, and announced it was ending production of the fan-favorite “Christmas Ale” after nearly 50 years.

The brewery said these decisions were made to “cut costs”, but “in the end, expenses still outpaced revenues, leaving the company no real choice.”

Attempt to sell the company

Anchor said Sapporo had made “repeated efforts” over the past year to sell the company. However, they did not bring results. A company representative stated that “it is possible that there will be a customer for the brewery as part of the liquidation process.”

According to the Brewers Association under Sapporo, production of Anchor beer has decreased significantly each year (except in 2021). Brewbound, the brewing industry website, previously reported that Sapporo’s recent purchase of Stone Brewing craft brewery has sparked concerns among Anchor employees about how their brewery fits in with Sapporo’s plans.

Main photo source: Yalonda M. James/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Image

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