Anchor Brewery Beers (San Francisco, CA)
The rich history of Anchor Brewing can be traced all the way back to the California gold rush, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco with his family. Gottlieb Brekle bought an old beer-and-billiards saloon on Pacific Street near Russian Hill for $3,500 IN 1849, transforming it into the American brewery that, twenty-five years later, would be renamed Anchor. Prohibition effectively shut Anchor down in 1920. There may have been a few “activities” during Prohibition and the era of bootlegging, but there is no record of Anchor Brewery doing anything—legal or illegal—during this time, other than waiting with the rest of San Francisco for the return of Anchor Steam® Beer. After Prohibition ended in April 1933, owner Joe Kraus began brewing Anchor Steam® Beer once again after a hiatus of thirteen years. As luck would have it, his newly reopened Brewery went up in smoke the following February. He re-opened Anchor in an old brick building with a new partner, Joe Allen, just a few blocks from where the historic Brewery is today. Kraus and Allen valiantly and lovingly kept Anchor afloat until Kraus’s death in 1952. By late 1959, America’s—even San Francisco’s—new-found “taste” for mass-produced, heavily marketed lighter beers had taken its toll on Anchor’s already declining sales. In July of that year, at the age of 71, Joe Allen shut Anchor down for what would, thankfully, be a brief period. In 1965 a young Stanford grad named Fritz Maytag learned that the makers of his favorite beer were soon to close their doors forever. Despite its primitive equipment and financial condition, Fritz rushed to buy 51% of the historic little San Francisco craft brewery—for a few thousand dollars—rescuing Anchor from imminent bankruptcy. 100 years after Gottlieb Brekle founded the historic American brewery that became Anchor, Fritz began bottling Anchor Steam® Beer – the first bottled Anchor Steam® in modern times. By 1975, Anchor had produced four other distinctive beers, Anchor Porter®, Liberty® Ale, Old Foghorn® Barleywine Ale, and the first annual Christmas Ale. Though the terms “microbrewing” and “craft brewing” had yet to be coined, it was clear that Anchor was leading a brewing revolution in San Francisco. Visit Merchant’s Fine Wine to explore our selection of Anchor Brewing beers.