Employees at the renowned San Francisco brewery, Anchor Brewing Co., have banded together to try and rescue the historic institution known as “America’s oldest craft brewery” — by purchasing and operating it themselves.
Around 40 workers penned a letter on Wednesday to the current owners, Sapporo, outlining their intentions, Vinepair reported. The workers’ proposal, which calls for operating the brewery as a worker co-op, aims to stop Anchor’s assets from being sold off and keep the institution alive.
Sapporo, which had acquired Anchor Brewing Co. in 2017 for a reported sum of $85 million, recently announced its intention to close the brewery and sell off its assets.
The employees, represented by Pedro de Sá, a spokesperson for the Anchor union, emphasized that they are not seeking “handouts or charity.”
“All we want is a fair shot at being able to continue to do our jobs, make the beer we love, and keep this historic institution open, de Sá wrote in the letter. “We do not want the brewery and brand we love to be sold off before we even had a chance.”
Related: Anchor Brewing, America’s Oldest Craft Brewery, Shuts Down after 127 Years
The workers’ letter requests Sapporo president Mike Minami to respond and engage in negotiations with the Anchor employees by the end of the day on Friday.
“We couldn’t go down without some way of fighting for ourselves and the community we love,” Patrick Machel, a worker at Anchor told Vinepair.
A sign is displayed on the front door of the Anchor Brewing Co. in 2017. Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Founded in 1896, Anchor has faced significant changes upon Sapporo’s acquisition — including a taproom, paid tours, and trendy beer styles — which have been met with negative feedback from employees and putting the brewery’s “craft” status in jeopardy.
The Anchor employees are not the only ones eager to preserve the brand’s legacy. Last week, Rhode Island-based brewery, Narragansett Beer, circulated a petition to save Anchor, garnering interest from several private equity investors, Vinepair reported.
Several Bay Area entrepreneurs have also expressed interest in purchasing the brand, including “serial investor” Mike Walsh, who has set up a website to seek potential investors, per The San Francisco Chronicle.
“I definitely have enough interest and access to capital to put a competitive offer in so we could buy it,” he told the outlet.
In the Anchor union’s letter, the employees request that Minami responds by the end of the day on Friday about the next steps, particularly in “creat[ing] the framework and rais[ing] the funds necessary for this purchase.”