Investors line up to save SF’s Anchor Brewing

Mike Walsh leads charge to buy the 127-year-old brewery and tasting room worth $75M

Structure Capital's Mike Walsh and the Brewery at 1705 Mariposa Street and the Tasting Room at 495 De Haro Street in San Francisco
Structure Capital's Mike Walsh and the Brewery at 1705 Mariposa Street and the Tasting Room at 495 De Haro Street in San Francisco (Google Maps, LinkedIn)

Tech investor Mike Walsh hopes to raise Anchor Brewing from pending ruin atop San Francisco’s Potrero Hill.

Walsh, a Potrero Hill resident who helped finance more than 200 companies, aims to lead investors to buy the 127-year-old brewery at 1705 Mariposa and 495 De Haro streets, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The troubled maker of Anchor Steam Beer, owned by Tokyo-based Sapporo Holdings,  announced last week it would close at the end of the month. 

As the taps run dry, Walsh has launched “Raising the Anchor,” a website where potential investors can inquire about saving the suds. He also dialed up Rhode Island’s Narragansett Beer, which also started a petition to save Anchor.

“My idea is just putting together a group of investors so that I can drink the beer, the employees keep their jobs and it stays in Potrero Hill,” Walsh told the Business Times.

The board of directors at Sapporo voted to close the brewery and sell off the business and property as part of an assignment for the benefit of creditors — a voluntary work-around to bankruptcy.

Sapporo Holdings bought Anchor in 2017 from The Griffin Group for $85 million. The company is now negotiating with a third-party assignee to liquidate its assets, according to a spokesman.

The four-story, 56,000-square-foot Art Deco brewery and nearby tasting room could be worth $75 million, according to property tax assessments.

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Walsh, who says he’s getting “tons of offers” to pool money to buy Anchor Brewing, is ready to make bids.

“I would say I’ve had at least 500 people reach out at various levels of investment — everything from like crowdfunding level for a thousand bucks, even a hundred bucks to bigger checks like a hundred K or a million,” he said.

He said the first first step is accessing the firm’s “data room” through a non-disclosure agreement, in order to analyze Anchor’s financials, real estate holdings, liabilities and assets, to make an informed decision.

“I’m pretty sure we will put together some offer,” he said.

Another potential bidder is Kyle Withycombe, co-founder and former COO at wellness shot brand Vive Organic, now owned by Suja Life. He’s also rummaging through Anchor’s data room.

Walsh, a Boston native and serial investor who moved to Potrero Hill 30 years ago, got an early stake in Salesforce and Uber before launching Leverage, a social media firm he later sold. In 2013, he founded Structure Capital, which in its first year planted stakes in 50 firms.

— Dana Bartholomew

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