Iconic San Francisco brewery shutting down after 127 years of operation due to economic struggles

Shuttering as a result of a "combination of challenging economic factors and declining sales since 2016."

A 127-year-old San Francisco brewery is the Golden City’s latest retail casualty as businesses continue to flee the urban blight.

Anchor Brewing Co. was founded in 1896 and marketed as America's first craft brewery. The company announced Wednesday in a press release that it was shuttering as a result of a "combination of challenging economic factors and declining sales since 2016."

Spokesperson Sam Singer said in the statement, "This was an extremely difficult decision that Anchor reached only after many months of careful evaluation.”

He added, "We recognize the importance and historic significance of Anchor to San Francisco and to the craft brewing industry [but] the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, especially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market left the company with no option but to make this sad decision to cease operations."

Anchor attempted to find a buy but was unsuccessful and hopes one may materialize during the business’ liquidation.

Though brewing has stopped, the company will continue to package and distribute beer already on hand through the end of July.

The Potrero Hill brewery, which dates back to the California Gold Rush, is the latest store to shutter in the City by the Bay following massive crime spikes and pandemic-related shutdowns.

According to Fox News, the brewery was purchased by Japanese brewery Sapporo Holdings Ltd. in 2017, and in 2019 the brewery’s employees voted to unionize. The company stated on its website that it was the "pioneer of the craft beer union movement."

However, even after a rebrand in 2021, the brewery’s sales continued to decline. According to JustDrinks, sales fell 10 percent in 2022.

Sapporo said Wednesday that it purchased Anchor in order to expand its presence in the US, but the "prolonged" impact of the pandemic on San Francisco was a reason for the brewery’s continued sales slump.

The parent company said that instead, it will focus its expansion efforts on its own brand and through Stone Brewing Co., which Sapporo bought in 2022 for $165 million.

The closure is yet another hit to the already reeling retail sector of the city. Nordstrom has also announced it was shuttering downtown San Francisco locations. AT&T also closed its flagship location in the city, as did Cinemark, Old NavyWhole Foods, and T-MobileWestfield announced it was surrendering the city’s biggest mall, San Francisco Centre, to its lender due to rampant crime.

Park Hotels & Resorts also announced it had stopped making its mortgage payments and turned over the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 to the bank due to safety issues in the area, expressing skepticism that the city could recover.
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