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Anchor Brewery: Union Seeks To Rescue Business

Written by George KellyPublished Jul. 20, 2023 • 10:44am
Pedro de Sá, a representative for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, speaks about the closure of Anchor Brewing Company, in San Francisco on Wednesday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

Unionized Anchor Brewing Company workers are asking its owners for the chance to buy it and run it as a worker-owned cooperative.

Pedro de Sá, a business agent at International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6, representing roughly 40 workers at the brewery, shared a letter from workers this week to Sapporo, which owns the brewery.

Pedro de Sá, a representative for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, speaks about the closure of Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco on Wednesday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

“All we want is a fair shot at being able to continue to do our jobs, make the beer we love, and keep this historic institution open," de Sá told industry publication VinePair. "We do not want the brewery and brand we love to be sold off before we even had a chance.”

The letter seeks a response before the close of business Friday from Sapporo on their plan to raise money and begin organizing toward a possible transfer.

De Sá did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.

"Let's work this out together and bring back what we've almost lost," said a union-affiliated account that reposted the VinePair story in a Thursday tweet.

Blaming several years of falling sales and a changed business environment, a company spokesman announced plans to liquidate the iconic brewery on July 12, with employees receiving a 60-day notice Wednesday, and the company announcing plans to offer separation packages.

Sapporo spokesman Sam Singer did not publicly comment on the union's request but said that about two dozen investors and people had expressed interest in some of the company's assets.

"All these inquiries will be placed in the hands of the assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC) (more commonly known as a liquidator) to make a decision on which company or individual is making the best offer for the brewing company," Singer said Thursday, calling outside interest heartening.

"We remain hopeful that Anchor will be purchased and continue on into the future, but it will be in the hands of the liquidator to make that decision and is dependent on what is offered by potential purchasers," Singer said.

Anchor Brewing Company’s flag flies upside down at its headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

The historic brewery’s parent company, Sapporo Holdings Ltd., said that 70% of Anchor’s beers were sold to bars and restaurants, many of 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. Local beer drinkers, brewers and bartenders had other thoughts.

“The stake through the heart of Anchor was the pandemic,” company spokesperson Sam Singer said.

David Dalzell loads cases of Anchor beer into his shopping cart at Costco in San Francisco. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

The move stunned generations of local and regional fans who weighed in on the reasons for the move, even as they rushed store shelves and distributors for a last taste of their memories.

George Kelly can be reached at

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