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Who will snap up Anchor Brewing Company?

Anchor Brewing Company is being sold off in parts with its brewing facility, equipment and its brand property all being up for grabs.

The beer garage sale, which follows the San Francisco brewery declaring bankruptcy and closure during the summer, has been rumoured by local press to have piqued the interest of beer preservationists looking to salvage Anchor’s recipes and legacy.

The brewery, which produced the hugely popular Anchor Steam beer and Liberty Ale, often referred to as one of the first versions of the now well-regarded America pale ale beer style, was originally founded in 1896, and has long held a claim to be the first craft brewery in the entire country. In 2017, it was sold for $US85m to Japanese brewing giant Sapporo.

According to local San Francisco sources, Anchor Brewing Company is now in the inevitable auctioning-off-its-parts phase, with the brewery, its equipment, and its intellectual property all being sold separately.

The future of Anchor Brewing Company is now reportedly in the hands a third-party trust named the Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC), a business that will oversee the sale of the brewery’s remaining assets and respond to bidders.

The assets will fall into three separate categories: the Potrero Hill property which is home to the brewery, the brewing equipment, and the intellectual property and beer recipes for parties looking to continue the Anchor brand.

The auction, which is being handled by Hilco Corporate Finance, lists no prices although it has been hinted by the Chronicle that the asking price for the brewery property is approximately US$40 million.

Fans of Anchor only really want to know about the intellectual property component, however, with all eyes on whether Anchor beer will ever be resurrected.

According to the rumours, there are at least two interested buyers.

Following the closure of Anchor Brewing Company, which saw Sapporo laying off employees began an impassioned campaign to buy the brand back and petitions to save it, attempting to make it a co-operative and launched a GoFundMe campaign that’s raised over US$100,000.

Now, the team are alleged to be upping their investment campaign in the hope they can raise a quarter of a million dollars to get equity from institutional lenders. The former employees are not trying to buy the physical Potrero Hill property, just the intellectual property to continue the brand.

I’m a recent interview with Vinepair, Anchor San Francisco Cooperative chairperson Patrick Machel said: “We’re guessing [US$2.5 million] is the lowest number the IP is going to be sold for.”

Meanwhile, local investors have also been alleged to have expressed interest. For instance, seed investor Mike Walsh openly revealed he really wanted the brewery’s IP with its site and equipment all included into a deal.

He explained: “Our objective is to purchase the entire brewery and continue brewing at its current location. Unlike some developers, our focus isn’t on property development but on preserving Anchor’s rich history and making it a prime destination. This might include adding onsite restaurants and entertainment facilities while maintaining the brewery’s iconic status.”

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