There was a time when I thought Anchor Steam was one word. The beer had one of its popular resurgences around the time I first started to note beer existed, and I thought "Anchorsteam" was the thing. BY the time I was old enough to learn that Anchor was the company and "Steam," a particular way of brewing beer, I just thought of it as not very good.
Steam beer is a lager that can be fermented at higher temperatures than other beers made with lager yeast. California is warm, and coming by a cool space to "lager" a beer was hard. Thus "California Common" or "Steam" beer arose. This was beer for people who wanted a beer but couldn't have a tasty beer. Anchor Steam found a hole that, 127 years later, no longer exists. California-only distribution was not going to save them.
The Christmas Ale made by Anchor Brewing was always a lot of fun.
In a press release, Anchor Brewing spokesperson Sam Singer said that economic pressures made business "no longer sustainable," and that employees were given their 60-day notice Wednesday. In June, Anchor Brewing limited distribution to California and axed one of its most popular beers.
"The inflationary impact of product costs in San Francisco is one factor," Singer told SFGATE at the time. "Couple that with a highly competitive craft beer market and a historically costly steam brewing technique. [They've] probably been mulling over this decision for a year. It's not something they take lightly."
On Wednesday, Singer reiterated the economic conditions at play.
"This was an extremely difficult decision that Anchor reached only after many months of careful evaluation," he said in a statement. "We recognize the importance and historic significance of Anchor to San Francisco and to the craft brewing industry, but the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, especially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market left the company with no option but to make this sad decision to cease operations."