Established in 1896 when German brewer Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law bought the American brewery, which was founded at the base of Russian Hill by another German brewer in 1871, and renamed it Anchor, Anchor Brewing was nearly bankrupt when it was purchased by Fritz Maytag in 1965.

Retooled, expanded and moved to its current location, in an old coffee roastery on Potrero Hill, in the 1970s, Anchor, was acquired by Sapporo in 2017 and is now slated to be shuttered due to flagging sales.  And unless Anchor’s assets are acquired and a new brewer emerges, we turn our attention to the 2.2 acres of land owned by the company, which includes the buildings at 1705 Mariposa, 501 De Haro and 495 De Haro, along with the parking lot at 330 Carolina Street.

Keep in mind that all of Anchor’s acreage is currently zoned for production, distribution and repair (PDR-1-G) uses, a zoning which explicitly prohibits residential and office developments, with the stated goal of remaining “free from inherent economic and operational competition and conflicts with housing, large office developments, and large-scale retail.”  And if a new land use is to be contemplated, the Zoning Administrator has been directed to “take into account the intent of this [PDR] District as expressed.” And no, they shouldn’t “build a stadium” here.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

23 thoughts on “Anchor’s San Francisco Acreage”
    1. My thought as well. If Fritz 2.0 doesn’t materialize to keep this legend alive the next best would be for one of the region’s ~4 top tier craft breweries to find the DeHaro facility just what they need to expand production. It would not be too difficult to adapt the brewery to closed fermentation. Too bad the post-Fritz owners squandered Anchor’s well deserved reputation in an attempt to become another “me too” mid-tier microbrewery.

      I didn’t realize that Anchor owned 4X more land than the site of the brewery building. That is a game changer with how this business changes hands.

      1. Even if someone steps in and buys the name, thats almost certainly all they’ll buy: production would just be done elsewhere…land in SF is to valueable for this (even now)

        1. While it may be that “land in SF is too valuable” for a brewery at this site in the abstract sense, it remains true, as described in the post above, that the land is zoned PDR. It’s difficult to envision a PDR use that will produce the necessary revenue stream that would be also be acceptable in this neighborhood that is not some type of operation that produces, distributes or serves some type of addictive intoxicant.
          If another craft brewery doesn’t acquire this, I expect the site to sit vacant for quite a while and for the broker handling the sale to get quite familiar with the phrase “doesn’t pencil.”

          1. How ’bout a craft lab for designer drugs: tranq or…
            OK, OK
            I agree the PDR is a short-term impediment, but I think the universe of parties willing to buy cheap and wait for a rezoning isn’t a null set. How big it actually is, and how it compares against the number of buyers for the quite abundant amount of space not so impeded is something we’ll just have to find out.

  1. And no, they shouldn’t “build a stadium” here.
    Why the heck not? It’s just as poorly sized and poorly located – albeit in a completely different way – as that spot that has been suggested.

  2. Now that there are so many delicious micro-brews, does anyone actually prefer the taste of Anchor Steam? Part of me is sad to see Anchor go, but the other part of me would never purchase their insipid beer.

    1. I must admit to moving on from “Microbrew 1.0 and 2.0” to the upper echelon of our current craft brews. Anchor Liberty Ale used to be in my top five favorites, now it is far down in that list. These days almost everything I drink comes in a pint can with a timestamp on the bottom bearing a date less than two months old.

      My shifting tastes are partly to blame for Anchor’s reduced revenue. Sure, that’s just a drop in the brew kettle though I am not alone.

    2. I personally like Acnhor Steam beer and find a lot of local breweries over hop pilsners and lager style beers. I hear they all make great IPAs but not my first choice. The hazy IPAs give me diarrhea and I dislike

    3. Anchor, left behind the times. A few years ago I tried East Brother’s California Common (aka “Steam”) which they had made for beer week. That played in a whole different league than your ole’ Anchor. And what Anchor changed was a dud: Year in year out I looked forward to Anchor’s Summer Wheat, which was fantastic. They scrapped that in favor of some co-branded also-ran IPA, meh.

    4. Anchor is always my go-to if I’m in the mood for something a little darker than a pilsner or lager. I’ve always got a few in fridge, so it looks like I’ll be stocking up and hoarding.

    5. When faced with a long list of hip new IPAs and obscurely-named craft beers (that give no hint as to their maltiness, profile, etc.), Anchor has long been my go-to for a beer that I know I’ll like (and, importantly, not regret).

  3. The land is just one component of the coming liquidation. Nobody wants the whole operation (at Sapporo pricing). The costs along with organized labor make this something that is unattractive. Someone will buy the brand and IP. Who knows what happens to the real estate.

    1. The purchase by Sapporo says it all – I didn’t realize that had happened… But it’s always how these things work out — look at Ben & Jerry’s selling out to Unilever; for a few years the conglomerate pays lip service to the original brand’s identity and product, but then they start reverting everything to the megacompany line (and mediocrity). (And unfortunately the same is already happening with Cowgirl Creamery, another sad sale of a great, unique product.) Even BofA couldn’t guaranty that the HQ stayed in San Francisco, after the NationsBank merger. But … no one cares about product or integrity, it’s all just the bottom line and insta-profits.

  4. Bear River Brewery in The North Bay was purchased by Drakes, Bear River makes Racer 5. The equipment was to be auctioned off and the RE is all in Foreclosure.

  5. I hate to sound like the old curmudgeon, but – gorramit, is everything unique about SF going to go away? I still can’t believe Beach Blanket Babylon closed, though it’s been years … and so many great music venues and dive joints, in the Mission and along Broadway … Cliff House closed, and Louis’ Diner (thanks National Park Service – more ham-handed bureaucratic ignorance, just like with Tomales oysters) … and then there’s the debacle that is Union Square and Westfield and environs.

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