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Community joins together to try and save Anchor Brewing

The craft beer community and local San Francisco businesses are aiming to join together to save Anchor Brewing from liquidation.

(Image: Mike Walsh/RaiseTheAnchor.com)

Mike Walsh, a serial financial investor in more than 200 companies, and who lives just around the corner from Anchor, wants to buy the firm, even saying he would have looked to buy it previously had he had known it was for sale.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Walsh has reached out to potential investors, and said that almost 30 would be interested in joining with him to present an offer.

He told the paper: “I definitely have enough interest and access to capital to put a competitive offer in so we could buy it.

“It’s been pretty exciting. Actually pretty emotional too. I wasn’t expecting to have this outpouring of interest and just of emotion from a variety of people.”

As part of the move, Walsh has launched a website called Raising the Anchor for those eager to discover more about the investment opportunity. Additionally, he has connected with Narragansett Brewery, who already have a petition on change.org to save the brewery.

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President of Narragansett, Mark Hellendrung, launched the petition, in order to try and draw together the beer community and stand “shoulder to shoulder” to save Anchor, in a similar way to how itself – Narragansett was founded in 1890 – was saved in 2005, when there was a buy-out from Pabst Brewery.

Walsh has also said he’d consider launching a crowdfunding option for the brewery, which would allow Anchor and craft beer fans to invest at a low entry point, such as US$1,000. He also believes that it is important for the company, should it be saved, to return to its roots, and focus on its classic portfolio of Anchor Steam, Liberty Ale and its Christmas Ale.

It comes as the historic Anchor Brewery has been closed by Japanese brewing giant Sapporo, who bought the brewery for $US85m in 2017. The brewery has given staff 60-days of notice and will sell-off its existing inventory, including its 2023 Christmas beer, in its taproom. Brewing operations have already ceased, but packaging and distribution will continue until the end of July while the firm goes through liquidation.

The company has also acknowledged while it had been unsuccessful in the past year in finding a buyer, it could be picked up during the liquidation process.

Speaking about the news of the closure, beer writer Stephen Beaumont said on social media: “There is not, or should not be, a single craft beer aficionado in North America for whom this news is not a gut punch. I and many, many others have written extensively and repeatedly about how Fritz Maytag’s Anchor Brewing Company was the catalyst for the development of ‘microbrewing’ on this continent, and I have spoken to countless brewery founders for whom Anchor was an inspiration.

“Would there be craft brewing today but for Anchor? Probably, I think it was inevitable given the times. But would it take the same shape it has today? Almost certainly not.”

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