News of Anchor Brewing Company’s shuttering appears to have sent beer drinkers scrambling to secure bottles and cans of the coveted brews.
Pictures on social media and visits to local stores that typically carry now-scarce Anchor beer revealed empty shelves and people flocking to where the beer is still being sold, such as the San Francisco Costco.
Shoveling two 24-bottle variety packs of Anchor beer into his shopping cart, David Dalzell said he’s been drinking Anchor beers for 30 years. A fan of its California Lager, he said he’s saddened his days of drinking it will soon be over but he’s happy to drink other local beers when there’s no more Anchor.
“I just like it,” Dalzell said. “If there are good local beers, I buy 'em.”
Dave Gordon, who lives in Twin Peaks with his wife and two school-age kids, said he’s a fan of its Tropical Hazy IPA, and said Anchor is his favorite local beer company.
“I like it because it’s a part of San Francisco history,” Gordon said.
Anchor is more than just a beer for Gordon, though. During the Dungeness crab season, he said he likes to catch a few and cook them with garlic butter for a family dinner, and he always gets a pack of Anchor Steam to wash them down.
“And some sourdough for dipping,” Gordon said after loading two 24-pack cases into his Costco shopping cart. “It was our classic SF winter night.”
A Costco worker said there was a spike in Anchor beer sales. Before the store opened on Thursday, he said he saw the Anchor beer shelves were empty after Wednesday’s announcement caused a rush on the brand.
"That's not usually the case," the worker said, asking not to be named because they were not authorized to speak with the press.
Several workers at a Safeway in Potrero Hill, who were not named for the same reason, also said the store was totally sold out on Anchor Steam beer, although its shelves still had a few cases of Anchor’s Crisp Pilsner and Tropical Hazy IPA on Thursday afternoon. The empty shelves did not come as a surprise to some of the workers.
“They’re going out of business,” one worker said.
Anchor Brewing Company announced Wednesday it would pour its last beers by the end of July after several years of falling sales numbers and a changed business environment.
The historic brewery’s parent company, Sapporo Holdings Ltd., said that 70% of Anchor’s beers were sold to bars and restaurants, which shut down during the pandemic, and that the local craft brewing scene, along with the growing popularity of hard seltzers and liquor, was what ultimately killed Anchor.
“The stake through the heart of Anchor was the pandemic,” company spokesperson Sam Singer said.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org