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Editorial Dept.'s picture

Anchor Sets Sale to Sapporo

Anchor Sets Sale to Sapporo

Sapporo has announced its purchase in full of San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Co., which many consider to be America's original craft brewery. The announcement comes with little fanfare, by way of an article on Sapporo Holdings' website. The deal is effective immediately, with equity set to transfer August 31.

While this may come as a surprise, the deal was described Anchor President and CEO Keith Greggor as more than a year in the making, according to an SFGate article. Further, it aligns with Sapporo's goal of expanding its interests in the U.S., and Anchor's overseas distribution goals – the iconic brand is already distributed in 20 countries.

Nevertheless, a sale of this magnitude signals a shift in the craft beer landscape. Unlike many other recent brewery sales, Anchor is a legacy brand intrinsically tied to its city's culture and the story of American craft beer. Regardless of whether the brewery will remain in San Francisco (it will), the deal will feel like a betrayal to many.

As of this time, the price of the deal was not disclosed, and Anchor has yet to make a statement. Anchor Distilling will now become a separate company, and is not involved in the deal.

Read Sapporo's announcement below, and stay tuned for more information as it comes in.

Sapporo Holdings Limited (hereinafter “Sapporo Holdings”) will acquire all of the equity interest of Anchor Brewing Company (California, US; hereinafter “Anchor”).

The Sapporo Group plans to further expand its US beer business by adding Anchor, a prominent beer manufacturer which produces the leading brand “Anchor Steam® Beer,” to its group.

1. Equity transfer agreement Sapporo Holdings will enter into an equity transfer agreement with Anchor’s parent company Anchor Brewers and Distillers, LLC (hereinafter “ABD”). The transaction will be conducted through Sapporo Holdings’ subsidiary, to be established for the purpose of entering into the agreement.

Sapporo will obtain all of ABD’s equity interest in Anchor which will join its group companies.

Execution date of agreement: August 3, 2017 (Thursday)

Equity transfer date: August 31, 2017 (Thursday)

2. Rationale behind Agreement

Last year, the Sapporo Group formulated the new Long-Term Management Vision “SPEED 150” through 2026, the year marking the Group’s 150th anniversary since its founding. The vision set forth in Speed 150 is for the Sapporo Group to be a company with highly unique brands in the fields of “Alcoholic Beverages,” “Food,” and “Soft Drinks” around the world.

Regarding its “Promote Global Business Expansion” policy, a key driver of its group growth strategy, Sapporo Group is pushing forward a distinctive plan that designates North America its business base and the rapidly growing “Southeast Asian” region as its highest-priority markets. In the US where the SAPPORO brand has maintained its position as the No. 1 Asian beer in the country over 30 years, the Group has been considering expanding its beer business through the acquisition of a new brand as well as further growing the SAPPORO brand.

Anchor is a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. “Anchor Steam Beer,” its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.

The addition of Anchor’s strong brand power and network to the Sapporo Group’s US beer business portfolio through the conclusion of this agreement is expected to accelerate its speed of growth in the US.

3. About Anchor Name Anchor Brewing Company, LLC (beer manufacturing and sales) Location 1705 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, California, USA Year founded 1896 Representative CEO Matt Davenport Num. of employees 160 (as of December 2016) Production plant One plant (San Francisco, California state) Sales volume Approx. 1.75 million cases (equivalent to 355ml × 24 bottles in 2016) Annual sales Approx. 33 million U.S. dollars (about ¥3.7 billion in fiscal 12/2016) (Note 1) Sapporo Holdings acquired Anchor Brewing Company’s “equity” instead of its shares due to the fact that the latter is a limited liability company.