Construction on Anchor Brewing’s Planned Second Brewery Delayed Again

More than four years ago, Anchor Brewing announced plans to open a second brewery on San Francisco’s Pier 48 as part of the $1.6 billion Mission Rock Development project. But plans for the new facility have seemingly gone adrift and Anchor’s involvement in the redevelopment initiative is now in question.

The long-established San Francisco beer company last week released a statement saying the project was “still in the early stage of development.”

“Anchor Brewing continues to work with the Giants on the Mission Rock/Pier 48 Project with the aim to build a brewery on the pier,” the brewery announced. “The process is complex and still in early stage development. Fortunately, time is on our side through further brewing efficiencies achieved at the Potrero Hill facility which has given us plenty of breathing room for production capacity.”

As of press time, brewery officials had not returned messages from Brewbound seeking further clarification on the adjusted Pier 48 building timeline or the “brewing efficiencies” the company has said it achieved at its existing Potrero Hill plant.

Initial plans had called for Anchor to begin construction on the Pier 48 brewery in late 2014 with buildout expected to be completed by late 2015. Under the original plan, Anchor’s Pier 48 brewery would have quadrupled the company’s annual production capacity from 180,000 to 680,000 barrels and the project would include distilling, packaging, storing, and shipping operations, as well as a restaurant, museum and educational space.

“It is believed that ‘Anchor’ was chosen as the brewery name for its indirect, but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco,” Anchor co-owner and CEO Keith Greggor told Brewbound at the time. “We’re excited to bring Anchor to our first waterfront home at Pier 48. Our plans are to begin brewing in late 2015, starting with Anchor Steam Beer [draft only] as we develop the facilities to include packing.”

In September 2015, an Anchor spokesperson told Brewbound the timeline had been adjusted and that construction could begin in early 2017. Brewing was supposed to occur 12 months later.

But last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Pier 48 would be among the final components of the Mission Rock project to be developed, with construction possibly beginning in 2019.

“Pier 48 will be in the later phases of the project,” San Francisco Giants’ vice president of strategy and development, Fran Weld, told the newspaper. “At that point in time, Anchor will look at its overall priorities.”

Weld added: “We’re definitely committed to a partnership at Mission Rock with Anchor.”

Additionally, the Chronicle cited sources close to the project saying brewery’s financial health wasn’t precluding its participation in the project. However, “the daunting costs of seismic upgrades and making the aged pier strong enough for a new use” could exceed $25 million, the report stated.

The baseball club and its landlord, the Port of San Francisco, are reportedly trying to find ways to keep Anchor involved in the project.

“We do still see Anchor as a partner in Mission Rock and Pier 48,” Phil Williamson, the port official in charge of the proposal, told the Chronicle. “We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into how this might work, and there’s still a hope that it will happen.”

Anchor, which has been making beer in San Francisco since 1896, is among the oldest breweries in the nation. Craft beer icon Fritz Maytag bought the fledgling company in 1965. Maytag led the company until 2010, when he sold the business to former Skyy Vodka executives Greggor and Tony Foglio.

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