Anchor RIP

Well, the rumors were true. Sapporo, corporate overlord just closed Anchor. There are many reasons for this besides big corps not making enough, small outdated and cramped plant, how to expand…how to be true to the perceived ethos of the brewery and not the least the changed landscape. Thousands of new tiny breweries all canning and fighting for shelf space. Sometimes it’s hard to find the same beer from week to week, even for a known brewery. I know this is supposed to be a golden age for American brewing, but how many stupid fruit beers and 10x ipa’s (all w/colorful labels) do we really need?


Wow, that sucks. 127 years. I like their steam beer and drank it quite often, went on a free tour of the brewery in Portrero Hill a few years ago. Hopefully a buyer can keep it going, according to this article they will be putting the company’s assets for sale.


Article from the SF Chronicle



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Sad day, indeed! I read that they would be ‘liquidatin’ the assests. I’m not sure if that is supposed to be a play on words, or what.

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(reposted from another forum:

I went to Whole Foods to get some today. There were two problems.

They redesigned the packaging last year, and I couldn’t find it in the cooler. Finally, I saw someone else with a sixpack, which I recognized only by the name, not the formerly distinctive logo. I looked again, and there it was in the far upper right shelf, pushed back out of sight.

There were dozens and dozens of other craft beers, probably over 70 of them. Specialty shops like Ledgers in Berkeley have even more. The market is intensely competitive these days. It leans towards hoppy IPAs, not Anchor’s style at all (not my preference, either).

I rarely drink anything stronger than a strong IPA in the category. While there are wonderful DIPAs, the dank and depressing far outnumber the ones I prefer. But I see a lot of IPA slamming. Here are my hot takes on the issue:

If there are too many IPAs, how about barrel-aged high alcohol styles, sours, etc do we need? If someone is going to yuck on my yum {and I am speaking of IPAs only, then I get to yuck on these things that are rarely even discernably beer.

{said in old man voice} GET OFF MY LAWN!!! The grass I would be happy to share.

My relationship with Anchor goes back to the 70s when I worked for Wally’s West in West Los Angeles. Weekly we would get small allocations of Anchor Steam and Coors. These were kept in the beer walk=in a doled out to valued customers. Yes, you heard it right! It was as hard to get Coors as it was Anchor!

I heard today that Andrea Bocelli is singing Othello while the man Zubin Metha says is the perfect Othello, and has 153 performances to his name, is not singing the role right now.

So long Anchor. Thanks for nothing Sapporo.


LOL, hey we all have different taste. I don’t know a ton of sours out there, that said Hermit Thrush in Vt makes a couple of killer ones. A while back Saison was supposed to take over, but ya gotta admit, there are a lot of ipa’s.

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There are also a lot of distinct styles of IPA. When a beer is hop forward, then the hops contribute a lot. Different hops have different flavor families. Next is hazy or clear. It is not unreasonable for a craft brewery to have 3 or 4 IPAs in their mix. Of course, they could all taste pretty similar but they should be distinct. My favorite local brew is Manor Hill and I drink about 5 or 6 of their brews regularly: A Kolch, Pilsner, Hazy IPA, West Coast IPA, one DIPA, and a peach wit. Yet they make 6 or more just IPAs. But they are all worth drinking and distinct.

My issue with small breweries is the lack of craft and breadth of style. Most of the local breweries in Baltimore and surroundings have mostly insipid brews. I have 2 breweries near my new abode that are very sour and barrel heavy. I will be interested in what I like.

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I found it more interesting that even small breweries tend to have often 10-15 beers at the same time. If you have Untappd, it is a good way to see the breath of so many breweries (while often maintaining a high level of quality - in today’s competitive market even small breweries have to churn out good brews)

Beer is a very technical product where recipe and hygiene are much of the challenge. Once a brewery makes a recipe, that then becomes a springboard to new variations.

Manor Hill typically has 16 brews at one time plus 3 or so bottled, aged, barreled, sours. In looking at my times sampling a goodly portion of them, 8 is two and 12 is three tasting flights between the two of us. And in that wide array, I rarely find a beer I do not think professionally done and chemically sound. But when it comes to going home, I usually buy 4 or 5 different styles.

On the other hand, I attended a fundraiser with 6 local breweries and a couple of distilleries {and adoptable animals}. Each brewery had 2 or 3 on pour. So there were something like 15 beers and I think I tasted 13 of them. 6 were insipid to the point of un-fun-ness. I would have been hard-pressed to buy more than 2 of the 13. Names will not be named.

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We definitely don’t have such quality problems here in California - the competition is way too crowded that breweries can afford many “mistakes” or focus on too few beers to survive

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This makes me sad. I chaperoned a field trip to the Basic Brown Bear Factory 20-25 years ago, and when I saw that it was literally next door to Anchor Brewery, I lobbied hard to change our 4th graders’ tour destination. I was only able to convince a couple of other dads, and we were strongly outvoted.


I still miss DeGroen’s brews.

Insipid is my value judgement and not a quality problem. But the west coast seems to make bolder beers.

Out over the weekend for fish and chips and through no doing of our own, we had one last draft. (Seeing the menu listing it on tap, we were almost afraid of hearing the answer when we placed our order.)

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Charm city. Does anyone remember Oxford Class or Brimstone?

The newspaper reports an investor group is hoping to buy Anchor before it shuts down.

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