Iconic San Francisco brewery closes: Anchor Brewing is no more

Originally published at: Iconic San Francisco brewery closes: Anchor Brewing is no more | Boing Boing


I’ve been a fan of their California Lager, and their labels always had a cool, old timey, intricate designs. It will be a shame to not see Anchor on the shelves anymore.


Well, shit.

Anchor was never the same after Fritz Maytag sold it. Still, I’m glad I got to visit the brewery, twice.

The first time I went there was with a lifelong friend of mine. At the end of the tour, there was a wonderful tasting bar, and the tour leader became our bartender. He had a spiel that went something like this:

“You may note that the glass you have is a seven ounce glass. That’s because, in the state of California, anything over seven ounces isn’t a taste, it’s a beer. And we can’t serve beers here, only tastes. That said, if at any time your taste is empty and you’d like another taste, please feel free to let me know and I’ll be happy to pour you another.”

They had seven different beers on tap that day, from a Summer Wheat all the way up to their Old Foghorn. It’s a good thing we had taken transit to the brewery.


Ah, that’s sad. I’ve also been to the brewery a couple of times – a friend’s high school buddy was a brewer there. He was there when Fritz handed back his keys.

I agree that the Steam wasn’t my favorite beer. That Old Foghorn was excellent. The Liberty Ale was good, and the seasonals were always fun. Loosing another bit of local color is a bummer.


talk about Anchor, San Francisco, how and why things change

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Dammit. That’s really sad. I was able to visit it last summer and take their tour.

Unfortunately, a lot of breweries will be going under in the next few years.


That’s been on my bucket list for 10 years, darn. Like a lot of other things, it’s good to remember that the time to do something is NOW.

That’s awesome! I’ve been to tasting rooms where they give you just that, a taste, enough to just lick wet your lips.


I was lucky once and got a case of Liberty Ale which had passed its sell by date. It couldn’t be sold legally, so it was written off and given away. I thought it was rather good.

The Craft Beer industry is taking a beating at the moment. The price of everything going up, plus the difficulty of competing in an over-saturated market, is putting a lot of small brewers in a very hard place.


Sad news. The brewery featured in an episode of The Streets of San Francisco, featuring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger as a brewery warehouseman wanted on suspicion of a roid-rage incident.


Darn. We used to have a very good bar here in Rotterdam, the Netherlands - unfortunately also gone for many years - that for a while served Anchor Steam, on tap. Not easy to come by here.
It was one of my favorite beers, and this is coming from someone living in a country full of lagers, from the terrible Amstel and Heineken to much better stuff. Interesting that so many of you didn’t particularly like Steam, but then again, I dislike most IPA’s with a passion and those seem to be very popular in North America.


I do it less now that I am older, but I used to try very hard to do brewery tours everywhere I traveled. There’s definitely a range in how the tasting is handled. Probably the worst I ever got was shot glass tasters, max two tastes. Anchor was probably the most generous - there were so many tastes it kind of turned into a drinking session, not just a tasting session.


Well that’s a bummer.
I collect pint glasses from the various breweries, made it there a few years back on a work trip but they didn’t have any for sale at the time. Bummer that I wasn’t able to get that memento (and never thought to hit up their online merch for one).

Locally (Pittsburgh), we’ve had a micro/craft boom over the last ten years. Most have been able to carve out their niche and survive alongside the crowd, but in the last year we’ve had a couple of popular locals (Roundabout and Couch Brewing) shut their doors. I suspect the boom is over.


Indeed. A brewery that I love that has started selling 16 Oz bottles of their beer for more than a really really really great bottle of wine. Priced me out.

Haven’t seen Anchor in stores for a very long time and had forgotten about them. Sad to see legacy breweries fold.


This is sad indeed. I was lucky enough a few years ago to be given a brewery tour by the head brewer at the time (I forget his name now…). The Spokespeak statement sounds like a lot of blaming externalities, while I suspect it has more to do with corporate management pinching at various holdings and culling to maximize profits. Nevermind 127 years of history. :angry:


This is sad. I wasn’t a regular drinker of Anchor, but I appreciated the beer. I guess even good old beer is subject to the realities of time and market. Hopefully, the same won’t happen to Sierra Nevada!

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Definitely. The US had a handful of breweries in the 1970s and now has nearly 10,000 [1]. At the same time US beer production by volume peaked in 1990. While the whole point of craft beer is to be small as compared to mass market beer, there has to be a limit at which more breweries making an ever smaller amount of beer can be profitable.

[1] Total number of breweries in the United States 2022 | Statista


Anybody know if this also applies to their distillery operation? Both their Junipero gin and Old Potrero rye are excellent spirits. I’d be more sad to see those go than the beers!


Anchor Steam was an early favorite beer of mine and several of their other varieties were very pleasant. Best of luck to the brewers and other staff who will be moving on.

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That was part of the problem, they changed the labels a few years ago to look like a healthy caned cocktail or something. Not a wise move.

Sic transit gloria mundi.