Consumer Products

America's Oldest Beer Disappears

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Many of America’s beer brands and parent companies are over 100 years old. Yuengling was founded in 1829. Budweiser was first available in 1876. Both are considered mainstream beers. Another category of beer is labeled “craft.” The oldest of these, Anchor Beer, has been closed by its parent. It was founded in 1896. (These are 20 craft beers Americans like most.)

Japanese brewer Sapporo owns Anchor. Just before it was closed, some employees tried to buy it. They could not put together an attractive enough package. What is left of Anchor will be liquidated and sold.

Anchor was caught in a vortex of a decline in the craft brew industry. Sapporo picked profit over legacy.

Anchor competed with 7,000 U.S.-based breweries, although its position as a craft beer made that competitive circle smaller. No matter how small the circle, Modelo, Budweiser, Miller, Heineken and other top-selling brands make up most beer sales. There may be enough demand going around. Americans over 21 drink 28 gallons of beer a year on average. In some parts of the country, that number is much higher. In North Dakota, it is 46 gallons.

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