“Pioneer” Business Shuts Its Doors After 127 Years

(NewsReady.com) – One of San Francisco’s oldest businesses has just announced it’s closing down. Anchor Brewing Co. has been producing beer for well over a century. Now, the company says falling sales and the weak economy mean it can’t go on.

The Anchor Brewing Company was founded in 1896 by two German immigrants who bought a brewery a previous German immigrant had built during the California Gold Rush in the 1840s. Since then, it’s survived the 1906 earthquake, a world war, Prohibition, another world war, a 1944 fire that destroyed the new brewery built to replace the one that burned down in 1906, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake — which interrupted the brewing of a batch of beer. Anchor bottled the batch anyway but stuck the labels on upside down and sold it as “earthquake beer.”

Unfortunately, the brewery can’t survive the current inflation. On July 12, Anchor announced that it’s reached the “extremely difficult decision” to close down the Potrero Hill brewery it’s occupied since 1979. According to the company, sales have been falling since it was taken over by Japanese brewing giant Sapporo in 2016. The company had been working on turning this around by introducing new products and investing in marketing — but then the pandemic hit.

Anchor has always relied heavily on draft beer sales — its flagship Steam Beer is a common sight in San Francisco bars — and, with businesses locked down, those sales stopped. Sapporo pointed out that the pandemic had a “prolonged” impact on San Francisco; the city’s liberal government was a huge lockdown enthusiast. Now, with inflation still high, people are cutting out luxuries. Anchor’s craft beers are a luxury product, so one of San Francisco’s best-known businesses is doomed.

The brewing company is just the latest in a long list of mass casualties for San Francisco. Others that have left in recent years include PayPal, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Airbnb, which has plans to move to the East Coast.

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