Sapporo Goes Shopping In Craft Beer Aisle, Picks Up Anchor Steam For $85M

Image courtesy of Smabs Sputzer

With a dwindling beer-drinking population in its home country of Japan, Sapporo Brewing has set its sights on U.S. shores to bolster its business, snapping up Anchor Brewing Company — maker of Anchor Steam — for $85 million.

San Francisco-based Anchor has been around since 1896, and Sapporo [PDF] notes that its flagship brand “is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the U.S.”

Sapporo could use that power: Japan doesn’t have as many young people in recent years, which means fewer folks hitting drinking age and buying beer, notes Bloomberg.

The deal, slated to close by the end of this month, will allow Sapporo to make a push into the U.S. market. Though Sapporo’s annual sales outstrip Anchor Brewing by quite a lot — $4.9 billion to $33 million in 2016 — the Japanese brewer will now have a chance to get a slice of the American craft beer pie as well.

“Sapporo shares our values and appreciates our unique, time-honored approach to brewing,” said Keith Greggor, Anchor Brewing co-owner. “With both a long-term vision and the resources to realize it, Sapporo will keep brewing Anchor’s beers in San Francisco while expanding to new markets worldwide.”