Do you know that in order to be officially classified as “Independent Craft Beer” by the Brewers Association, a brewery cannot have more than 6 million barrels of sales a year and cannot be more than 25% owned by a conglomerate?
Anchor Brewery, founded in 1896 in San Francisco and being regarded as one of the oldest and finest craft beer breweries in the U.S., was acquired by Sapporo Breweries for $85 million last month. Sapporo Breweries is also the oldest brewery in Japan dating back to the Meiji period. Many die-hard craft beer fans are now worried that this venerable brand will start deviating from its carefully controlled production of small volume and begin large scale production of boring commercial beer.
My personal favorite is their Anchor Christmas Ale, which is only available around Christmas time. Its ingredients, flavors as well as its label change every Christmas. May it taste like plum and raisin, cinnamon and banana, or molasses and caramel, Anchor’s Christmas Ale often give you an element of surprise. I am really looking forward to their next Christmas Ale, their first non-craft ale after 120 years.