Last month, Anchor Brewing announced that it would stop making its Christmas ale and would discontinue national distribution of all of its beers, restricting sales to local California markets. This week, news broke that the San Francisco brewery would be closing its doors. The iconic brewery, regarded as America’s original craft brewery, has survived fires, Prohibition, and economic downturn, only to shutter just six years after being acquired by Sapporo USA.

At the time of Anchor’s acquisition in 2017, there was a widely held belief that Sapporo USA would serve as a steward for the craft brewery. The Japanese conglomerate was widely perceived within the industry to be more legacy- and quality-focused than the more rapacious, bottom-line-oriented portfolio managers at other massive conglomerates. However, following mistakes led by either a lack of knowledge or downright incompetence, Sapporo has shown clear mismanagement of the asset, Anchor Brewing, that it purchased.

Today’s guest, VinePair contributing editor and “Taplines” host Dave Infante, has even been told by Anchor employees that when push came to shove, Sapporo wasn’t the type of benevolent partner that was expected of them, the type of benevolent partner that people had hoped for.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Joanna Sciarrino and Zach Geballe sort through the wreckage of the sudden and dramatic demise of Anchor Brewing with Dave. The three discuss why Sapporo USA’s purchase of the brewery may have been ill-conceived from the jump, and ponder what this might mean for the larger industry.

Zach is reading: Tingly Tongues, Music, and Scents: Behind the Rise of Multisensory Cocktails
Joanna is reading: How Sapporo USA Sank Anchor Brewing Co.

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