Former employees of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing have formed a cooperative and launched a GoFundMe campaign in an attempt to buy the brewery.
Working with Project Equity, an organization that assists with and promotes employee ownership, members of the union of brewery and taproom employees of Anchor Brewing (International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6, San Francisco, California) have coordinated with former managers and past employees and made it known that they are serious about acquiring the brewery.
Since Anchor Brewing ceased operations in July, an assignee has been appointed to oversee the sale process for the defunct brewery’s assets. And while a number of parties have expressed interest in buying the brewery and saving the 127-year-old brand, the owners and the assignee have been publicly silent about the process.
The employee group has not been granted access to the data room. Without that, and without transparency in the sale and bidding process, the group’s acquisition plans are in flux. But from their own knowledge of the brewery and by working with former employees that worked at Anchor when it was in its heyday, the employee group has developed a business plan and feel that they are in a realistic position to buy the brewery.
“We have incorporated a legal entity, retained legal counsel and consultants and formed a board of directors,” says Patrick Machel, former production lead of Anchor Brewing. “Through our legal counsel and Project Equity, Sapporo and the assignee have been informed that we are serious buyers.” From here, the group will hone their business plan when they get access to the data room and will submit a bid under the ABC process.
The initial target for the group’s GoFundMe is only $50,000, which the group acknowledges is just a drop in the bucket. “We wanted it to be achievable, but we want people to understand that this will be incremental,” says Machel.
The response was immediate and the initial $50,000 goal was achieved after just three days. The group hopes that this initial and immediate success will further demonstrate to the assignee that the group’s bid is to be taken seriously.
“We hope people will keep up to date with our social media and we are getting our website going,” says Machel. “We hope people will see our progress and keep putting money into the fund. We see the support. It means the public really wants us to get the brewery going again.”