Anchor Brewing Sold to Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd.

Rachel Spacek reported on the front page of the business section in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “Anchor Brewing has been a San Francisco staple since 1896, surviving earthquakes, prohibition and tech booms and busts. But on Thursday, the brewer announced it will be a San Francisco company no longer after a sale to Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Ltd.

“Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a spokesman for Sapporo said the price was approximately $85 million.”

The LA Times article stated that, “The deal marks the latest California brewery to be acquired by a larger beer maker. It comes amid rising competition among craft breweries — a sector of the beer industry that Anchor has been credited, by some, for helping inspire.”

Ms. Spacek noted that, “Sapporo is the latest big brewer to purchase a California craft brewery. Earlier this year, Heineken completed its acquisition of Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Co. In 2015, Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona, acquired San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits for $1 billion.

“‘As the market has slowed and has become more competitive, breweries are looking for partners or complete acquisitions,’ said Bart Watson, chief economist with the Brewers Assn.”

The LA Times article added that, “Unlike Lagunitas and Ballast Point, which were founded in the 1990s and rose to prominence with their hoppy ales, Anchor is a century older and most famous for its Gold Rush-era steam-style beer, Anchor Steam.

“Yet long before those younger breweries found success, breweries like Anchor and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. helped prove that a small brewer making flavorful ales could compete in a market dominated for decades by mass-produced light lagers.”

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