Beer News: Yogurt Billionaire Acquires Anchor Brewing

, Beer News: Yogurt Billionaire Acquires Anchor Brewing

(Courtesy Anchor Brewing)

We have to admit, we enjoyed coming up with that title. This is good news for San Franciso and good news for the craft beer biz.

Here’s the deal…

The San Francisco Standard  is reporting that “Billionaire entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish-born CEO and founder of Chobani, the country’s largest producer of Greek yogurt, has purchased Anchor Brewing.

What a journey it has been for this legendary brewery…

Anchor Brewing, which almost singlehandedly ushered in the craft beer revolution when Fritz Maytag purchased a controlling interest in a dilapidated San Francisco brewery back in 1965, has ceased operations.

Once a symbol of both the history and vitality the American craft beer biz, Anchor Brewing was wedded to a national distribution model that most up-and-coming craft breweries aspired to at that time. The more states your beers are available in, the better.

But as craft beer fans migrated to smaller uber-local brewers in their own cities, where the offerings were ever-changing and the beer dependably fresh, Anchor’s national distribution model became a curse, as it did for other craft beer pioneers like Stone Brewing.

In 2017 Anchor Brewing, which was owned at the time by the Griffin Group, an investment firm group that also held minority interest in BrewDog LLC, was sold to Sapporo, a Japanese beer major hoping to cash in on the American craft beer revolution.

, Beer News: Yogurt Billionaire Acquires Anchor Brewing

{Anchor Brewing on Potrero Hill in San Francisco: Courtesy Anchor Brewing)

That acquisition, an $85 million dollar deal, further alienated Anchor’s core fans. The brand was no longer considered true craft beer according to the national trade group, the Brewers Association’s definition and its authenticity increasingly questioned by beer purists.

In 2021 Anchor Brewing unleashed a maelstrom of criticism when it announced that it was celebrating its 125-year history with a new look that sacrificed its hand-drawn artisan label artwork in favor a more basic, and frankly, much blander generic look.

And the hits just kept coming…

On June 14, Anchor Brewing announced that it was shedding its national distribution model and limiting its existing sales footprint to its home state of California, an ominous move that foreshadowed the company’s eventual announcement that it was closing.

Its closure led to a run on Anchor’s existing beers and a growing chorus of passionate voices pledging to find a way to return the iconic brewery and now with the support of Chobani yogurt founder Hamdi Ulukaya it has been revived.

According to The San Francisco Standard , “Ulukaya’s personal investment firm, Shepherd Futures, is working with local developer Presidio Bay Ventures to help restart the brewery operations, restoring its traditional branding and repositioning the company again as a national player in the beverage space.”

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