Will Anchor Brewing Workers Really Be Able to Buy the Historic San Francisco Company?

On July 27, the last day of bottling beer at Anchor Brewing’s historic Potrero Hill plant, shop steward and packaging lead Patrick Mochal cried as he and his co-workers signed their names on the final bottle headed into the final case of steam beer. They’d worked the plant to the bone, until the packaging floor ran out of glass, even overturning old boxes to scrounge bits of material to feed into the machine at the end. Once supplies finally ran out, everyone got together and celebrated the finale, toasting to all that went before — and all they hoped for ahead. Mochal says phones were out, archiving the terminus. “These were our last moments together,” Mochal says. “It’s the end — for now.”

Anchor Brewing had announced its closure just over two weeks prior, on July 12. The pioneering company, founded in 1896, invented the California common beer — widely known as steam beer — and has weathered a string of close calls with closure during the past century. The company was dragging financially in 1965 when dryer scion Fritz Maytag bought the business; a similar scenario played out when Maytag sold it in 2010 to beverage company.

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