When Japan’s Sapporo acquired craft-beer pioneer Anchor Brewing last year, many craft brewers characterized the transaction as the end of an era. It’s one on which John Dannerbeck now looks back fondly, having worked alongside the brewery’s legendary owner, Fritz Maytag, and the eclectic mix of seasoned managers that stubbornly rejected the notion of growth for growth’s sake and consequently gave birth to a global movement of craft brewers. Join us when John revisits his entry into the brewing business and the unrelenting market dynamics that bruised management’s ability to keep growth at bay.
The Brewery by the Bay
“In 2010, there were, I believe, 1,800 breweries in the United States. By 2013, 2014, there were 3,800 breweries. The number of breweries had doubled in just a few years. I think that Anchor, having been kind of the granddaddy of all of the craft breweries, started to feel those headwinds. First, we started to see our sales growth slow down, and then we started to see contraction in sales on the beer side. It was clear that the better opportunity going forward, at least for the short term, was going to be on the spirits side. The spirits business needed some really significant new capital, and I think that’s what drove the idea of ultimately selling the brewery to support them.” –John Dannerbeck, former president of Anchor Brewing of San Francisco
Guest: John Dannerbeck, Chairman, Maytag Dairy Farms, Inc. (former president of Anchor Brewing)
Company: Anchor Brewing
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA