Anchor Brewing’s Employees Are Trying to Buy Back the Company

A GoFundMe campaign is getting close to its goal

September 6, 2023 12:18 pm
3 cans of Anchor Steam beer
Can the Anchor Cooperative save the historic brewery?
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Back in June, San Francisco-based Anchor Brewing announced that it would end sales outside of California. One month later, America’s oldest craft brewery, along with its owner Sapporo, broke the news that Anchor was closing for good. It was a blow to both the history and future of craft beer, to say the least. But in some optimistic news, employees are coming together to hopefully save the company with an Anchor Brewing GoFundMe campaign. 

The Anchor Brewing union launched the GoFundMe on September 4, and as of this writing, they’ve raised $47,075 of their $50,000 goal. The 127-year-old brewery survived two World Wars and was saved once by Fritz Maytag back in 1965 when he bought the brewery and also helped revive the company’s Steam Beer. Now the employees want to keep the brewery in their skilled hands. 

“We decided that the most qualified people to save Anchor were the people who produce it,” reads the GoFundMe page. “We are Anchor: we are working class people, many of us Bay Area natives who grew up seeing our family members drink Anchor. We take an immense amount of pride in the work that we do. We are now asking for the chance to continue that work.”

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Employees have expressed that parent company Sapporo is responsible for Anchor’s demise. The union has publicly criticized Sapporo for mismanagement and blamed the company for the brewery’s bankruptcy filing. Sapporo paid $85 million for Anchor back in 2017, so it’s unclear how the employees will buy back the brewery and taproom with this small sum, but we support the cause and hope it works out for them regardless.

“Workers have formed a co-op with the intention of purchasing and running the business collectively and carrying on the Anchor’s legacy,” employees said on the GoFundMe page. “We are working with organizations who specialize in worker ownership and are guiding us through this process. We need the community’s help to cover our costs as we explore the possibilities of worker ownership.”

While $50,000 likely won’t buy back the brewery, there’s nothing stopping other people from donating to the cause. While the GoFundMe campaign doesn’t have an end date that we can see, you can access the page here.


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