A LANDMARK COMPANY in San Francisco has turned off its taps.

Anchor Brewing Company officials announced early Wednesday that it will cease operations and liquidate the business — established in 1896 — citing economic factors including declining sales since 2016.

Freshly bottled beers roll off the production line at Anchor Brewing Company on March 23, 2012. The company, established in 1896, billed itself as the nation’s first craft brewery. (throgers/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND)

The company gave employees 60-day notices “with the intent to provide transition support and separation packages in line with company practices and policies,” according to the announcement from company spokesperson Sam Singer.

“This was an extremely difficult decision that Anchor reached only after many months of careful evaluation,” Singer said in the announcement. “We recognize the importance and historic significance of Anchor to San Francisco and to the craft brewing industry, but the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, especially in San Francisco, and a highly competitive market left the company with no option but to make this sad decision to cease operations.”

Anchor recently announced it would limit sales of Anchor beers to California and that it would cut production of its Anchor Christmas Ale.

The announcement reports that Anchor has stopped brewing and will continue packaging and distributing the beer on hand while available or through around the end of July. Anchor Public Taps will remain open temporarily, selling remaining inventory, including a small volume of 2023 Anchor Christmas Ale, which was brewed prior to the company’s recent decision to cancel the nationwide release.

“Anchor has invested great passion and significant resources into the company. Unfortunately, today’s economic pressures have made the business no longer sustainable, and we had to make the heartbreaking decision to cease operations.”

Sam Singer, spokesman

“Anchor has invested great passion and significant resources into the company,” Singer said. “Unfortunately, today’s economic pressures have made the business no longer sustainable, and we had to make the heartbreaking decision to cease operations.”

Singer said the company is negotiating filing for bankruptcy under federal Chapter 7 or 11.

Based in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, the company describes itself as the nation’s first craft brewery.

A look inside the bottling facility at Anchor Brewing Company on Dec. 12, 1997. (throgers/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND)