Anchor Brewing released a fun three-part story over the past few days on their blog, pieced together by resident historian Dave Burkhart. The story, “Steam Beer Billy,” is a true story that was told in the San Francisco newspapers in 1898, 115 years ago. The story concerns William “Yankee” Sullivan and his pet goat, Jack, both apparently big fans of Steam Beer, and their exploits that began on New Year’s Eve and ended several days later, when Sullivan was finally out of jail and reunited with Jack.
With the San Francisco Chronicle breaking the news last night about Anchor Brewery building a second, and much larger, brewery near the waterfront at Pier 48, I was immediately keen to find out more. I knew from my earlier discussions with the new owners, and especially Keith Greggor, that they wanted to build the business but were dead set on keeping the business in San Francisco. But since they’re already the largest manufacturer within the city limits, that prospect must have been a daunting — and ultimately very expensive — task.
The new proposed brewery is being built in partnership with the San Francisco Giants and their 27-acre Mission Rock development project. Here’s more information about it from the press release released this morning.
Anchor will continue to operate its facility in Potrero Hill, but will greatly expand its operations with the development of the Pier 48 facility. The two facilities will allow the company to quadruple its annual production capacity from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels.
Pier 48, the southern-most structure of the Port’s Embarcadero Historic District, will be fully rehabilitated and re-established as an industrial hub of the central waterfront. The new Anchor facility will feature production facilities for brewing, distilling, packaging, storing, and shipping; a restaurant, museum and educational facility in the headhouse of Pier 48; and a restored walkway around the entire pier apron that will connect pedestrians to the Portwalk and allow views into the Anchor brewhouse. Anchor will offer tours of the facilities and educational seminars with a focus on the history of craft beer, the art of craft distilling and Anchor’s history in San Francisco. The construction project beginning late 2014 will feature the use of green and sustainable materials, setting the standard for a modern urban brewery.
The Anchor expansion will create approximately 200 new jobs, 75% of which are production-oriented positions that employ a diverse work force.
“We are making things in San Francisco and creating a magnet for jobs for thousands of people from every background in our thriving local manufacturing sector,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “Making sure our homegrown companies stay and grow right here in San Francisco remains my top priority and I want to thank Anchor Brewing and the San Francisco Giants for driving the engine of economic growth, bringing jobs and revitalizing our world class waterfront.”
The Anchor Brewery expansion project also represents the first major tenant of the Mission Rock Project — a new, mixed use urban neighborhood currently being developed by the San Francisco Giants. The Anchor Brewing facility will cover 22% of the overall project site.
“As a longtime partner of the Giants, we are delighted to welcome Anchor Brewing to the waterfront and to partner with them on what will become an exciting place for San Franciscans to live, work and play,” said Larry Baer, Giants President and CEO. “Given the rich history of the Giants and Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, it is only fitting that we work together to help transform this historic part of the City’s waterfront.”
In addition to Anchor Brewing’s new facility, the Mission Rock Project will include more than eight acres of parks and open space, 650-1,500 residential units, 1-1.7 million square feet office space, parking structure to serve ballpark and Mission Rock patrons, and up to 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and public amenities. In total, Mission Rock is expected to create 4,800 construction jobs and 6,400 permanent jobs.
Mission Rock Park will include Seawall Lot 337 (SWL 337) & Pier 48.
Last April, SocketSite began showing artist drawings of what the proposed site might look like with their post Mission Rock Plans Dusted Off With Giants Swinging For A 2015 Start and last month’s Giants Moving Forward With Massive “Mission Rock” Development.
Here’s an overview of the 27-acre site, of which approximately 22% will be the Anchor Brewery complex. It will apparently be 212,000 square feet and will ultimately allow total beer production to be increased to an impressive 680,000 barrels annually. “The new Anchor facility will feature production facilities for brewing, distilling, packaging, storing, and shipping; a restaurant, museum and educational facility in the headhouse of Pier 48; and a restored walkway around the entire pier apron that will connect pedestrians to the Portwalk and allow views into the Anchor brewhouse.” As you can see in the drawing below, there will also be a substantial outdoor beer garden.
The interior of the proposed restaurant portion of the Anchor Brewery project, with the brewhouse visible in the background.
This afternoon, I had a chance to talk with Anchor co-owner Keith Greggor, who was kind enough to fill me in on some of the other aspects of the project. Here’s what I learned.
Anchor has been talking to the Giants about the Mission Rock project for at least the last year and a half, and the city and Mayor Ed Lee are especially thrilled that a deal could be done. Apparently, it’s a perfect expression of Mayor Lee’s “keep and grow” concept for keeping businesses from leaving San Francisco as they succeed and grow larger. In fact, the mayor apparently suggested Anchor as a tenant, not realizing at the time that it might actually work. The Port is also very happy to have only one tenant, and it has to be a day and night difference having the city, local politicians and the landlord all very supportive and happy to have a brewery there, which is not the situation that often occurs.
Anchor will eventually take over all of Pier 48, but will begin renovating Shed A, and will later take on Shed B, too. The two sheds are essentially different buildings with what they call a “valley” in between. Most of the design work is done, and the first order of business will be to spruce up the building. They expect to move in during the 3rd Quarter of 2014 and be open by the 4th Quarter of 2015.
Perhaps the most amazing news is that they already have a brewhouse for the new location. About twenty years ago, a nearly exact duplicate of Anchor’s current copper brewhouse came on the market in Germany, and Fritz Maytag bought it, hoping to use it when Anchor expanded. But later Maytag decided against moving the brewery and instead had been storing the equipment ever since. The only difference between the two is that the newer one is over twice as big, and is a 270-barrel brewhouse. In addition to brewing at Pier 48, they will also have a working distillery there, but will also continue to make gin and whisky at the Potrero Hill location, too.
The museum portion of the project will include Anchor’s massive brewing book collection and breweriana, including a recent purchase of another collection from a gentlemen who’d been collecting his entire life and recently decided to sell it all. There will also be an educational component, and will be similar to their original concept of having a “Center of Excellence” that the Griffin Group talked about when they first bought Anchor. Greggor had been talking about the Mission Rock project with Fritz Maytag the entire time during the negotiations, and Maytag is reported to be very happy with the new brewery plan.
Still undecided is the restaurant, which will not be a brewpub. They may yet partner with someone to do the food, but since the restaurant will be one of the later parts of the project to be completed, they’re still weighing their options. The current estimate is that the restaurant won’t open until 2017.
Looking at it from all the angles, it really seems like an elegant solution to the thorny problem of how to grow the business without sacrificing what makes Anchor such a great brand. They’ll have a more public space, perfect for tourists, locals and baseball fans, and will be able to make even more Anchor beer right in San Francisco. It will create jobs, help with the economy and should attract more tenants to the Mission Rock development project. What’s not to like?
And finally, below is ABC 7‘s coverage of the news:
The San Francisco Chronicle broke the news tonight that Anchor Brewing Co. will be building a second brewery near the waterfront at Pier 48, in partnership with the San Francisco Giants and their 27-acre Mission Rock development project. The Anchor Brewery space will apparently be 212,000 sq. ft., and will include “production and distribution facilities, a restaurant, museum and other public attractions.” It will also allow them to increase brewing capacity to approximately 600,000 barrels, while keeping all of their brewing operations within the city limits. The new facility is also expected to more than double the number of Anchor employees. Below is Anchor’s artist’s design for the new brewery.
For now, you can read the story at the Chronicle’s Anchor Brewing plant on S.F. waterfront. I spoke to Anchor Brewery co-owner Keith Greggor this evening and learned that there will be an official announcement tomorrow morning around 10 a.m. where we’ll learn more details, and I also have scheduled an interview with Greggor afterwards to go over the project in more details, so stay tuned.
Bruce Joseph, who’s been at Anchor Brewery for many, many years turns 57 today. There’s a big picture of him when he was very young in the stairwell at the brewery that I see every time I’m there. He’s been doing the distilling for Anchor’s whiskey and gin for a while now and plays bass with the Hysters (Anchor’s big band) and the Rolling Boil Blues Band (the Celebrator beer band that’s all industry musicians). If there’s a nicer person in the beer industry, I’ve yet to meet him. Join me in wishing Bruce a very happy birthday.
On stage at the Northern California Rhythm & Blues Festival several years ago.
Last night I atended a special release party at Anchor Brewery for their newest Beer, Anchor California Lager. It’s the same beer that was the first in their Zymaster series. According to Anchor co-owner Keith Greggor, the reaction to the beer was overwhelmingly positive, especially from distributors, and that persuaded the brewery to release it as a year-round beer in 12-oz. bottles. The release also coincides with a new partnership between Anchor and the California State Parks Foundation, where a portion of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the parks foundation, a very worthy cause in my opinion. For now, the beer will only be available in California.
From the press release:
Today, Anchor Brewing announces that Anchor California Lager®, California’s first genuine lager reborn, is being added to our core lineup of distinctive beers with case sales supporting the California State Parks Foundation. This new release is currently available in California only.
Anchor California Lager was the first beer in our Zymaster® Series, originally released as a limited draught beer in early 2012.
“Our first release of this historical brew was immensely popular with the public and also with our Anchor employees,” said Keith Greggor, CEO of Anchor Brewing Company. “From day one, Anchor California Lager resonated with us not only because of its distinctive flavor, but also because of the rich brewing history that it celebrates.”
Anchor Steam’s® roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable option. In 1876—thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State—a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager is our re-creation of this historic beer.
Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast, Anchor California Lager is kräusened and lagered in our cellars. This all-malt brew is a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.
The California grizzly bear on our Anchor California Lager label is from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a superbly crafted rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who had painted both eastbound and westbound versions of this bear. Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, our bear—like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label—is heading east.
Anchor California Lager (4.9% ABV) is unique. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, its rich golden color, distinctive aroma, lingering creamy head, balanced depth of flavor, and incredibly smooth finish are like no other lager today.
Anchor California Lager is now available year-round in 6-packs, 12-packs, 22-ounce bottles, as well as on draught at select bars, restaurants and retailers throughout California.
Anchor’s history, California’s first genuine lager beer, and our state parks were all born in the second half of the 19th Century. To celebrate California’s unique heritage, we are proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds from Anchor California Lager case sales will support a new partnership with the California State Parks Foundation. As a tribute to our shared history and traditions, we’re forming an Anchor California Lager Grant, to be awarded by the California State Parks Foundation as a part of their Discretionary Grants program to benefit state parks.
California State Parks Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s 280 state parks – the largest state parks system in the United States. California State Parks Foundation’s work revolves around the belief that all Californians deserve access to excellent state parks – from beaches to mountain ranges, deserts to redwood forests, and everything in between.
And finally, here’s a new video about the beer:
Anchor Brewing announced today the release of the third beer in their Zymaster Series, a stout to be called Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout.
From the press release:
Named after a San Francisco sailing legend from a time when stouts were first exported to the West Coast, Zymaster® No. 3: Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout will be released in selected Anchor markets in January 2013.
Our Zymaster® Series No. 3 (7.4% ABV) is a dry, Irish-style export stout akin to those brewed in the 1800s for the long voyage to San Francisco. Black as night, this high-gravity, malty brew offers intense but well-balanced flavors and aroma, with hints of dark chocolate and roasted coffee.
The arrival of a clipper ship in gold-rush San Francisco brought mail and news of “the States,” would-be miners and entrepreneurs, boots, shovels, pickaxes, butter from New York, cigars from Havana, and stout from as far away as London and Dublin.
The stouts that San Franciscans imbibed in those days were no ordinary ales. They were export stouts—dark, intense, high-gravity brews created especially to survive a long voyage like those around Cape Horn.
It took the average clipper three to four months to sail from New York to San Francisco. But not the Flying Cloud, which, in 1851, made the trip in 89 days and 21 hours anchor to anchor. With the exception of its own 89 day and 8 hour voyage three years later, its record remained unbroken until 1989. Thanks to this clipper’s “extreme” design and the savvy of its captain, Josiah Creesy, and his wife and navigator Eleanor, the Flying Cloud quickly became a San Francisco sailing legend. We celebrate it and a legendary brewing tradition with our Zymaster® No. 3: Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout.
That sounds tasty, I can’t wait to give their new stout a try.
The beer will be in stores and select bars any minute now. Here’s where it will be available.
Zymaster® Series No. 3: Flying Cloud San Francisco Stout will be available in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia and Florida.
Fritz Maytag, who bought the failing Anchor Brewery in 1965 and turned it into a model for the microbrewery revolution, celebrates his 75th birthday today. It’s no stretch to call Fritz the father of craft beer, he introduced so many innovations that are common today and influenced countless brewers working today. In the last couple of years, Maytag sold Anchor Brewery and Distillery to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio of the Griffin Group, but continues to make his York Creek wine and consult with Anchor as Chairman Emeritus. He stopped by the annual Anchor Christmas Party again this year briefly to join in the merriment. Join me in wishing Fritz a very happy birthday.
Fritz with the organizers of SF Beer Week at our inaugural opening event at Anchor in 2009.
Today is the 64th birthday of Bob Brewer, longtime brewery rep. for Anchor Brewing. For many years, he worked from southern California, circling the country with the entire nation his territory (the only exception being the Bay Area) representing Anchor beers. Recently, he’s moved back to the Bay Area, but you can find him at every nook and cranny of the beer world. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.