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Anchor Brewing union asks Sapporo for fair chance to bid on company

Cans of Anchor Steam beer.
Sapporo plans to liquidate assets of the iconic Anchor Brewing beginning in August. | Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Workers at Anchor Brewing Company have urged the firm that owns the beloved San Francisco icon to give workers a fair chance to bid on a purchase of the historic facility.

Since Sapporo announced Anchor Brewing would close and cease operations at its brewery on De Haro Street, employees have organized an effort to save the business and run it as a worker-owned cooperative.

In a press release sent to The Standard Thursday evening, Warehouse Union Local 6—which represents roughly 40 workers at the brewery—said that since the union gave notice of its intent to bid, Sapporo told the group it would release financial information on the state of the business only if the group appointed a representative.

Pedro de Sá, a representative for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

Yet just over a week after the union announced its intent to bid, Sapporo has now refused to give the relevant financial information over to the group, according to union spokesperson Pedro Sá.

“Today, Thursday, July 27, Sapporo informed us that they were refusing to grant us access to this financial information, claiming that it was now too close to the date when they would hand over control of their assets,” Sá wrote in an email to The Standard. “This is despite the fact that other prospective buyers had already been given access to this financial information.”

Sá said that the union has been working with representatives at the Project Equity and the Tuttle Law Group which have specialized in converting businesses into worker cooperatives.

“Sapporo stated that they would take an offer seriously from us,” Sá said.“Workers have taken this process seriously, through huge emotional turmoil, supporting themselves and their families, and continuing to show up to produce Anchor. Sapporo has decided to waste their time and refuse to provide the information they need to present a legitimate offer.”

In light of Thursday’s developments, Anchor Brewing workers are calling for Sapporo to hold off on handing over assets until Sept. 2 in order for a fair offer to be presented with knowledge of the requested financial information, according to Sá.

Sam Singer, spokesperson for Sapporo, said the company is “being fair” to all interested parties but that it has “no flexibility” to extend for another month.

Anchor Brewing's headquarters in Potrero Hill. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

“We have made it clear since we announced the closure of the brewery on July 12 that its assets would be turned over to an Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors at the start of August,” Singer wrote to The Standard. “The business is unfortunately out of money and out of time.”

If the union is still interested in purchasing the brewery after the liquidator is in place, Singer added, workers can get access to the financial information to inform its bids on Anchor Brewing after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

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