Anchor Brewing Company has a colorful history. Originally opened by German immigrant Gottlieb Brekle during the California Gold Rush, it was purchased in 1896 by Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr. who named it Anchor. The brewery burned down during the great quake of 1906, just 10 years later, but was rebuilt (in a new location – but still in San Francisco) in 1907. During the 1950’s Anchor Struggled to hold their own as American beer tastes shifted towards light, mass-produced lagers (Bud, Coors, etc.). They closed briefly in 1959 but opened again later than year under new ownership, after which the brewery burned down yet again and was rebuilt yet again a few block away.
Lacking interest in his own family’s appliance business, Fritz Maytag purchased the struggling Anchor Brewing in 1965, saving it from closing, and things only got better from there on out.
(Note: Anchor was sold to former Skyy vodka executives Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio in 2010, who plan to expand Anchor’s business while keeping its commitment to artisan brewing.)
Today, Anchor produces a wide variety of beers but their most notable is still the original Anchor Steam. In 1975, Anchor Brewing first brewed their Anchor Christmas Ale and have done so every year since. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Anchor Christmas Ale.