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Old 04-26-2010, 11:04 PM   #1
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Default Anchor Brewing Sold?!?!?!

I remember reading in Ambitious Brew that it didn't seem like Fritz Maytag had anyone to take over the reigns, and he was getting tired. The fear was that Inbev or SA Miller would make a grab. Glad to see it's someone from "within."

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Anchor Brewery Sold

by Jay Brooks on April 26, 2010 ·


BREAKING NEWS: I heard the rumor less than an hour ago and have been working the phones, to no avail. But apparently a few people have received the following press release, which is below.

The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on beverage alcohol brands, announced its acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company which includes its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including the award winning Anchor Steam Beer.

The Griffin Group is led by beverage alcohol veterans, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two longtime San Francisco residents who have been working with Anchor Brewing Company’s owner, Fritz Maytag to maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco.

“Anchor Brewing Company has a long history in San Francisco and The Griffin Group is ushering in an exciting era while maintaining our proud, time-honored history,” said Fritz Maytag. “Combining Keith and Tony’s passion for the Anchor Brewing Company, their industry experience and expertise only means that Anchor will be enjoyed in San Francisco for generations to come.”

“Since 1896, Anchor Brewing Company has been an icon of San Francisco’s history and culture,” stated Griffin’s Founding Partner, Keith Greggor, “I am honored to bring Anchor Brewing Company into our family of craft beers and artisanal spirits through establishing Anchor Brewers & Distillers, LLC.”

Anchor Brewers & Distillers intends to establish a “Center of Excellence” in San Francisco for craft brewers and artisan distillers from around the world. An epicenter of development, education, entertainment and innovation, all designed to further contribute to the culture and heritage of craft beer and artisan spirits.

“San Francisco is the perfect place to establish this center,” stated Tony Foglio, “Through our extensive portfolio of craft beers and fine spirits our focus will be to educate and satisfy the increasing consumer demand for authentic, quality and natural products that reflect the passion of their creators.”

Continuing the Anchor heritage, Mr. Maytag has been named Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers.

The Griffin Group operates as both boutique merchant and investment bank for premiere craft beers and artisan spirits. In addition to the Anchor Beers, The Griffin Group will assume control of the spirits brands including Old Potrero Whiskey, Junipero Gin and Genevieve Gin through the acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company. Additional affiliated companies to be held under Anchor Brewers & Distillers include Preiss Imports, a leading US specialist spirits and beer importer, and BrewDog USA, LLC, the US division of the leading UK craft beer.

The Griffin Group is headquartered in Novato, Marin County, California.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:07 PM   #2
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Here's more on it.

Quote:
Skyy Vodka Team Acquires Anchor Brewing

Fritz Maytag, the godfather of craft-beer industry, announced the sale of his iconic San Francisco brewery to the Griffin Group.[/b]



Ushering in what could be a new era for one of the country's most iconic breweries, Anchor Brewing Company announced Monday that founder Fritz Maytag sold the business to the Griffin Group. The acquirer is a boutique investment company based in Novato, California, and led by alcohol-industry veterans Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, who helped to develop Skyy Vodka. The new owners will work with Maytag, who will serve as chairman emeritus of the new corporate entity, to "maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco," according to a release.

Maytag, the 72-year-old entrepreneur behind the Anchor Steam brand, is an icon all by himself: The great grandson of the founder of the Maytag Corporation, he bought the small brewery in 1965, reviving and renaming it. Over the years that followed, Maytag grew Anchor Brewing into one of the country's first and finest craft beermakers—one that inspired scores of other brewers in the United States.

"He really helped kick-start the craft beer movement in the U.S.," says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada, a craft brewery based nearby in Chico, California.

When he was starting out at Anchor, Maytag learned the skills of brewing and tinkered with Anchor's recipe to create an improved Anchor Steam beer that debuted in 1971. Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham wrote in 2005 that Maytag's formula was an instant success.

Within four years, the brewery had maxed out its production capacity. Soon thereafter, Maytag was forced to ration the number of cases distributors could buy. He remembers the next few years as a nightmare. Customers were beating down his door, and there was simply no way he could satisfy the demand. He desperately looked for a new site, but he limited himself to locations in San Francisco out of respect for the historical connection between the city and the beer. Finally he found an old coffee roastery, where the brewery moved in 1979. Maytag vowed he would never go through rationing again.

But the popularity of Anchor Brewing's beers continued to grow. By the early 1990s, Maytag was facing the real possibility of another capacity shortage. He considered going public to raise capital, but rejected the idea because he didn't want the kind of growth he would have to pursue if he took on investors. Size, he believed, was the enemy of quality. "This was not going to become a giant company - not on my watch," he says.

Of course, even in spite of Maytag's efforts, the company has grown steadily over the years. So have his business interests, which also include a vineyard and a family-owned blue cheese company, based in Iowa. So why sell now? "Well, he's in his 70s and I'm sure, as all of us do, he's thinking about what he wants to do with the years we've got left and wanted to select the right team to continue with his company," Grossman says.

The Sierra Nevada founder adds that he's hopeful that, because the Griffin Group is based locally, Anchor will remain in its hometown of San Francisco. "It's very much connected to the city it would be great to see it continue as a Bay Area institution," he says.

New owners Greggor and Foglio are alcohol-industry figures who grew Skyy Vodka before selling their portion of the Skyy Spirits company to Campari in 2007. A year later, the partners bought a majority position in Preiss Imports, a specialist alcohol-maker. In 2009, they invested in BrewDog, one of Britan's biggest independent breweries, with the intention of importing the product to the U.S.

As for Anchor's future, Greggor said in a release: "I am honored to bring Anchor Brewing Company into our family of craft beers and artisanal spirits."

In a statement, Maytag said: "The Griffin Group is ushering in an exciting era while maintaining our proud, time-honored history. Combining Keith and Tony's passion for the Anchor Brewing Company, their industry experience and expertise only means that Anchor will be enjoyed in San Francisco for generations to come."
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:21 PM   #3
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Seems like a good thing.
I can see some interesting Brewdog/Anchor collaborations in the future.

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Old 04-26-2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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Hmm, this is pretty big!

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Old 04-27-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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Because of the sale, there's some neat stuff popping up on the web. Just found this cool timeline on the history of Anchor Brewing.

Quote:
1854 Amid the Gold Rush, German brewer Gottlieb Brekle applies for U.S. citizenship and soon establishes a brewery on Pacific between Larkin and Hyde streets.

1896 Ernst Baruth and son-in-law Otto Schinkel Jr. buy the brewery and name it Anchor.

1906 Anchor Brewery is destroyed by fire in the great earthquake and is relocated to 18th and Hampshire streets.

1920 Prohibition shuts the operation.

1933 Joseph Kraus, one of three men who stepped in to keep the brewery going following the deaths of Baruth and Schinkel in the early 1900s, resumes brewing Anchor Steam Beer at a new location at 13th and Harrison streets.

1934 The brewery burns down and is reopened at 17th and Kansas streets.

1959 Anchor brewery closes, a victim of mass-marketed beers.

1960 Lawrence Steese re-opens the brewery at Eighth and Brannan streets.

1965 Fritz Maytag buys 51 percent of the struggling brewery.

1969 Maytag assumes full ownership.

1971 Anchor Steam Beer begins to be bottled.

1979 Anchor Brewing moves to its present location on Mariposa Street on Potrero Hill.

1993 Maytag opens a distillery to make rye whiskey.

2010 Maytag sells to the Griffin Group, run by Bay Area duo Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio.
I guess it's getting a name change.

Quote:
The company will be renamed Anchor Brewers & Distillers and plans to develop a "Center of Excellence" in San Francisco which will focus on the "development, education, entertainment and innovation" of craft beer. Longtime Anchor Brewing owner Fritz Maytag will now be given the title Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:52 PM   #6
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Wow, the place burned down twice?

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Old 04-27-2010, 06:22 PM   #7
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wow, never saw that coming

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