Outside the Anchor Brewing Company brewhouse in San Francisco, California

Outside the Anchor Brewing Company brewhouse in San Francisco, California

Anchor Brewing

Anchor Brewing’s roots date back to the California Gold Rush, making it one of America’s oldest breweries. And its Anchor Steam Beer has been a San Francisco original since 1896. It was that year German brewer Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific (the first of six Anchor locations around the City over the years) and named it Anchor. No one knows why Baruth and Schinkel chose the name Anchor, except, perhaps, for its indirect but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco.

In an uncanny year of misfortune, co-owner Ernst Baruth died suddenly in February. Two months later, the devastating fire following San Francisco’s great earthquake consumed Anchor Brewery. In January 1907, just as Anchor Brewery was opening at its new location south of Market Street, Otto Schinkel, Jr., was run over by a streetcar. Fortunately, German brewers Joseph Kraus and August Meyer, along with liquor store owner Henry Tietjen, were able to keep Anchor going.

Prohibition Era

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.

Lawrence Steese bought and re-opened Anchor in 1960 at yet another nearby location, retaining Joe Allen to carry Anchor’s craft brewing tradition forward. But one of Anchor’s oldest accounts, the Crystal Palace Market had already closed its doors. And Steese had an increasingly difficult time convincing loyal Bay Area establishments to continue serving Anchor Steam. By 1965, Steese—like Allen six years before—was ready to shut Anchor down.

The Fritz Maytag Era Begins

In 1965, during a meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory, a North Beach restaurant known more for its eclectic décor and Anchor Steam Beer than its spaghetti, 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.

Fritz revived the struggling brewery at a time when mass production of beer dominated and seemed unstoppable.

By 1977, Anchor had five products, a dozen employees and had nearly outgrown its most recent Brewery on 8th Street. After a long search, owner Fritz Maytag purchased a wonderful old coffee roastery, built in 1937, on nearby Potrero Hill. On August 13, 1979, Anchor brewed its first Steam Beer at its new Mariposa Street home, which remains Anchor’s home today.

In 1984, Anchor celebrated its fifth anniversary at its new home by brewing a special wheat beer, the first wheat beer in America since Prohibition, and now known as Anchor Summer Beer.

In 1989, Anchor’s pioneering spirit and reverence for classical brewing led to its Sumerian Beer Project and Ninkasi, a beer made according to a 4,000+-year-old recipe. Later that same year, the Brewery was rocked but not damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake, out of which Anchor’s “Earthquake Beer” was born.

In 1993, Anchor Brewing became the first brewery in the world with its own in-house distillery. Anchor Distilling, doing for microdistilling what Anchor Brewing had done for microbrewing nearly thirty years before, began making Old Potrero rye whiskey as it might have been made by George Washington.

And then, in 1997, Anchor Distilling began making its unique pot-distilled gin, Junípero.

In 1965, Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the struggling brewery at a time when mass production of beer dominated and seemed unstoppable. Maytag started a revolution in beer that originated today’s craft beer movement.

A New Era Begins

After 45 years, Fritz Maytag, having inspired thousands of top craft brewers, announces his retirement with the sale of Anchor Brewing to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio. Anchor’s new owners make plans to preserve and expand the iconic brand’s operations and cement its position as a leader in craft brewing and artisan distilling.

Today, Anchor Brewing remains one of the most traditional breweries in America, a pioneer of the craft brewing movement. Though its top beers — especially its Anchor Steam Beer — are known throughout the world, they are all still handmade in Anchor’s handsome copper brewhouse in San Francisco, California.

The brewery continues to practice the time-honored art of classical brewing, employing state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our beers are always pure and fresh. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing with such carefully applied, modern methods of sanitation, finishing, packaging and transporting.

To learn more visit anchorbrewing.com.

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Inside the Anchor Public Taps tasting room, across the street from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, California

Inside the Anchor Public Taps tasting room, across the street from Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, California

This brewery has multiple locations.

Anchor Brewing

  • 1705 Mariposa St
  • San Francisco, CA 94107-2334
  • United States
  • (415) 863-8350

Brewery Tours Available The schedule provided is based on the information available from the brewery at the time this page was published and is subject to change. Hours may also vary on holidays or for special events. Refer to the brewery website or check out their social media accounts for the latest information. Submit corrections via the form on this page.

  • Sunday: 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Monday: 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Tuesday: 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Wednesday: 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Thursday: 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Friday: 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM
  • Saturday: 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM

This brewery has multiple locations.

Anchor Public Taps

  • 495 De Haro St
  • San Francisco, CA 94107-2334
  • United States
  • (415) 863-8350

Taproom Hours The schedule provided is based on the information available from the brewery at the time this page was published and is subject to change. Hours may also vary on holidays or for special events. Refer to the brewery website or check out their social media accounts for the latest information. Submit corrections via the form on this page.

  • Sunday: 12 PM - 8 PM
  • Monday: 12 PM - 9 PM
  • Tuesday: 12 PM - 9 PM
  • Wednesday: 12 PM - 9 PM
  • Thursday: 12 PM - 10 PM
  • Friday: 12 PM - 10 PM
  • Saturday: 12 PM - 10 PM

No Brewery Tour Info

Either a brewery tour is not available at this location, isn’t offered on a set schedule, or that information hasn’t been made available.

For More Information

Visit the Brewery Website

Beers

A selection of beers from Anchor Brewing

Beer NameStyleABVIBUsCal.Rating
Anchor Coffee Porter Review American Porter6.7201
Blackberry Daze IPA Review American IPA6.5195
Joe-Joe’s Cookie Stout Review Sweet Stout6.0180
Our Special Ale (Anchor Christmas Ale) Review American Winter Warmer6.7201

News

Anchor Brewing in the News

Anchor Brewing Workers and Management Sign Union Contract

Anchor Brewing employees ratified a three-year deal with International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6, a first for the San Francisco-based brewery. Read More

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Anchor Brewing Releases 45th Annual Christmas Ale

Now in its 45th year of the series, Anchor Brewing announces the release of its 2019 Christmas Ale, a highly anticipated, limited-edition delight. Read More

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Anchor Brewing Introduces Limited-Edition Anchor Steam Beer Label

Anchor Brewing Company announces a limited-edition look for Anchor Steam Beer with award-winning local artist Paul Madonna. Read More

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