By Freddy Brewster
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The last bottles of Anchor Steam, the iconic and namesake beer of Anchor Brewing Co., rolled off the assembly line on Thursday amid an ongoing fight by Anchor Brewing employees to purchase the company.
In fact, the employees alleged that Sapporo, the Japan-based beer company that bought Anchor Brewing Co. in 2017, has refused to share financial information that was made available to other potential buyers.
The group of Anchor Brewing employees announced on July 19 that they were interested in purchasing the company after Anchor Brewing Co. announced it was shuttering the 127-year-old brewery.
The next day, Anchor Brewing Co. released a statement acknowledging receipt of the group’s intent to purchase the company granted they "put forward a bona-fide, legally binding offer to buy the Company, one that includes a verifiable source of funds."
However, just a week later, it seems that the understanding between the two entities has hit a road bump.
"Sapporo informed us that they were refusing to grant us access to this financial information, claiming that it was now too close to the date when they would hand over control of their assets," the group of Anchor Brewing employees announced on Thursday. "This is despite the fact that other prospective buyers had already been given access to this financial information."
The statement says Anchor Brewing employees have been in contact with Project Equity and the Tuttle Law Group. The group of employees wants Sapporo to hand over the desired financial information and to delay handing over the company’s assets until Sept. 2.
"Sapporo stated that they would take an offer seriously from us," the group said in a statement. "Workers have taken this process seriously, through huge emotional turmoil, supporting themselves and their families, and continuing to show up to produce Anchor. Provide the financial information necessary to present a fair offer."
But Anchor Brewing Co. said they treated the group of employees the same as the other potential buyers.
"We welcomed the union employees' offer to participate in the liquidation process," said Sam Singer, spokesman for Anchor Brewing Co.
"The employees can bid for the assets as part of the liquidation of the business," Singer continued. "Once the liquidator is in place the union and other interested parties can gain access after signing a non-disclosure agreement to business information to inform their bids for Anchor Brewing Co. either in whole or in part."
Anchor Brewing Co. cannot extend the deadline because the business is out of money and out of time, he added.
"Anchor remains hopeful that of the many bidders who have expressed interest in buying all or some of Anchor’s assets that one of them will keep the company going for future generations," Singer said. The last bottles of beer were bottled yesterday, a touching and sad moment in time."