Anchor Brewing Has a Buyer and Plans for a Return

Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya has purchased the craft brewery

Anchor Steam neon sign
The lights are coming back on at Anchor Brewing.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

It’s been a while since Anchor Brewing has been grounds for news that could be dubbed “optimistic.” The news last year that the storied craft brewery would be shutting down felt like a perfect storm of bad decisions by the company’s owner and an increasingly troubled craft beer market. It also felt like the end of an era: Anchor had laid the groundwork for the growth in craft brewing that spread across the country in recent decades.

As SFGATE’s Grant Marek reports, Anchor Brewing’s new owner is Hamdi Ulukaya — and if his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the founder and CEO of Chobani. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the deal is that Ulukaya is purchasing the defunct brewery’s assets in total, including both its production facility and its intellectual property.

Ulukaya posted a video on Instagram where he discussed meeting with former Anchor employees and about his admiration for the place the brewery has in the city’s history. “It’s the essence of San Francisco. It’s the essence of this country that we can always bring it back stronger, better than ever before,” he said. “I think the best time of San Francisco is yet to come. I can’t wait to get back to work on my part with Anchor Brewery.”

Writing at VinePair, Dave Infante has a good analysis of the news — and some questions left unanswered by the announcement. “[A]s far as I know, all the equipment is still in place on Potrero Hill, and former workers know their way around the plant like the back of their hands, so the runway should be short if Ulukaya intends to rehire ‘em,” Infante wrote. “Watch closely to see if that happens.”

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Both there and at his newsletter Fingers, Infante raised another question as well — what the fate of Anchor’s earlier unionization efforts would be. If this new version of Anchor Brewing brings back former staff and treats them well, it’ll be a win for all involved — but an encouraging announcement is just the first step on a long path back.


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