San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing acquired by Sapporo

Photo by Joseph Alton

Photo by Joseph Alton

Anchor Brewing, an esteemed American craft beer brand with original roots dating back to the California gold rush, has been sold to Japan’s Sapporo Holdings.

The landmark deal with the international beer giant had been in the works for a year, after speaking with “many, many” larger breweries across the globe to find the right fit, according to Keith Greggor, Anchor’s president and CEO.

“When you take a brand like Anchor, its very soul exists in the heart of San Francisco,” Greggor was quoted as saying to the SFGATE. “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.”

The popular and historic company, established in 1896, is considered the first craft brewery and has long been a homegrown pride of San Francisco. Full acquisition will occur August 31. However, Anchor Distilling, the spirits division of Anchor, with spirits such as Junipero Gin, Old Potrero whiskey, and Hophead Vodka, will not be affected by the sale and will become a separate entity.

For now, Anchor representatives insist that the beer, including the flagship Anchor Steam, will continue to be brewed the same way, at its headquarters in Potrero Hill. ”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 said in the report.

“People bleed Anchor, they’re passionate about it,” said Greggor. “It’s that passion that makes handcrafted beers successful in terms of its quality. Maintaining that sense in the brewery is very important, but this is something that Sapporo understands and respects.”