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Japanese beermaker Sapporo acquires iconic Anchor Brewing Co.

One of the pioneers of American craft beer will be U.S.-owned no longer.
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Courtesy of Anchor Brewing

Courtesy of Anchor Brewing

In a statement released today, Japanese beermaker Sapporo Holdings Limited announced it would acquire San Francisco, California-based Anchor Brewing, revered as a pioneer of American craft beer. The transaction is expected to close on August 31 will cost $85 million, according to a tweet from Bloomberg News’ Tokyo bureau chief Gearoid Reidy.

Anchor was founded in 1896, though it entered its modern phase in 1965 when Fritz Maytag purchased a majority stake in the struggling brewery. Since then, the brewery’s iconic Anchor Steam and Liberty Ale have become ubiquitous and are credited by many with sparking the American craft revival. Anchor was the 22nd-largest brewery in the U.S. by volume in 2016, according to data compiled by the Brewers Association. It has been owned since 2010 by The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on alcoholic beverage brands.

“The addition of Anchor’s strong brand power and network to the Sapporo Group’s U.S. beer business portfolio through the conclusion of this agreement is expected to accelerate its speed of growth in the U.S.,” reads a portion of the announcement from Sapporo.

The deal comes at a time when brewery acquisitions are becoming increasingly common; Wicked Weed’s sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev and Lagunitas’ purchase of a stake in Short’s are just two of more than a dozen such deals that have gone down in the past year. Sapporo intimated that the Anchor purchase is part of a larger strategy focused on serving an expanding South Asian market with imported American-made beer.

“Sapporo Group is pushing forward a distinctive plan that designates North America its business base and the rapidly growing ‘Southeast Asian’ region as its highest-priority markets,” Sapporo said in the statement.

READ MORE: Talking beer with Fritz Maytag, the godfather of craft

 

Author
Kate Bernot is DRAFT’s beer editor. Reach her at kate.bernot[at]draftmag.com.

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