News seeps out from the US that craft brewing pioneers Anchor Brewery has been sold — you can read the full story here at Jay Brooks’ blog and no doubt more information will appear overnight. Over here the sale of a brewery always seems to cause a default reaction — gloom and doom, the end of the world, massed ranks of grim-faced beer drinkers marching behind funeral hearses. In the past decade Ridleys (sold by the company) and Morrell’s (boardroom clash) are two I can think of that demanded said reaction, but on the other hand the likes of Sharp’s and Butcombe are just two that have gone from strength to strength with new owners. So hold back the sackcloth and ashes for a while and it is also heartening to hear that Fritz Maytag has been made Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers (as they are known). Also interesting to note from this side of the Atlantic that the buyers of Anchor are the chaps who are connected with BrewDog. Collaboration brew anyone?
I was at a beer dinner with a couple of Anchor guys in the middle of the Somerset countryside at the Queen’s Arms a couple of years ago — fantastic food and beer matches, great guys, a chance to chew the fat over one of my favourites Old Foghorn (life was never the same after I set eyes on a photo of a pint of said beer in a copy of Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion). 2008 saw me try one of Anchor’s 19th century bourbons courtesy of Mark Dorber at the Anchor. I’m not a spirits man, but a small drop of this made perfect sense as a post-lunch digestif.