Anchor Brewing Sold to Sapporo, Anchor Distilling to Split Off

Craft beer takeovers are now coming from overseas.

The 121-year-old San Francisco brewery Anchor Brewing, a pioneer in the craft beer movement, has been acquired by Sapporo Holdings Ltd of Japan.

The deal was first announced this week by the San Francisco Chronicle. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

As part of the deal, Anchor Distilling — the company’s importing and distilling component — will split off and become its own independent entity. Anchor Distilling produces spirits like Junipero gin and Old Potrero rye whiskey, and imports brands including Nikka Whisky.

Anchor Brewing will continue to operate out of San Francisco, according to reports. Sapporo will focus on growing the brand globally.

In the 1960s, Anchor set the stage for the modern American craft beer category. On the cusp of bankruptcy, the brewery was bought by Fritz Maytag, who switched its lineup from lighter, blander beers to more flavorful options like barleywine, dark porter, dry-hopped ale and the first ever Anchor Christmas Ale.

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