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Anchor Brewing SOLD: Griffin Group Buys San Francisco Beer Company

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SAN FRANCISCO — Anchor Brewing Co., the San Francisco beer company that helped spark the modern microbrewery movement, has been sold to two Bay Area entrepreneurs who are in the artisan beer and spirits business.

Keith Greggor, 55, and Tony Foglio, 64, of the investment and consulting company The Griffin Group, announced their purchase Tuesday. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Greggor and Foglio, who developed the Skyy Vodka brand, said they plan to expand the brewery's operations.

"This is something we want to build on for the rest of our careers and pass on to the next generation," Foglio, who will serve as the company's chairman, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 70-person brewery on San Francisco's Mariposa Street had been held by Fritz Maytag, heir to the washing machine fortune, since 1965.

The company traces its origins to the Gold Rush, but when Maytag took it over it was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Maytag, 72, invested his inheritance into the company and turned it around. At a time when mass-produced beer was gaining in popularity, Maytag is credited with reviving the craft beer industry and influencing the founders of other microbreweries, including Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

"He was a legend for many of the small brewers who came after him," said Ken Grossman, founder of Chico-based Sierra Nevada.

Anchor Brewing says its beers are "virtually handmade" at the all-copper brewhouse. Craft beers tend to have bolder flavors and colors than their counterparts in the mass-produced market.

"Combining Keith and Tony's passion for the Anchor Brewing Co., their industry experience and expertise only means that Anchor will be enjoyed in San Francisco for generations to come," Maytag said in a statement.

He will remain with the company as chairman emeritus.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle

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