MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer, with Anchor Brewing.

MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer

Mark Carpenter wasn’t happy with his job. One day, he took a tour of Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, and thought it would be a fun place to work. Over 40 years later, he’s still the brewer.

Shaun O’Sullivan, Founder and Brewer of 21st Amendment Brewery says Anchor Brewing is “the epicenter of craft beer for all of us in this industry.”

Anchor Brewing has been operating in San Francisco under the same name since 1896. The company struggled severely in the mid-1900s. Fritz Maytag loved to drink Anchor Steam Beer on tap, and he bought the company in 1965.

Fritz had to learn to brew, and he invested heavily in brewing equipment and modernizing the processes. It is no wonder he is often called “the father of modern microbreweries.”

And Mark Carpenter, has been there almost the whole time. It was an honor to be able to speak with Mark on-site at the same brewery location where he’s been making beer since 1979.

When Mark started working at Anchor in 1971, they were producing “the only beer in America that really wasn’t just a yellow beer.”

When Anchor Porter was released in 1973, not one porter was being made in England. Most dark beers, were simply the light beer with coloring added.

Liberty Ale, with its Cascade hops, came out in 1975, a time when not many—if any—other breweries were using the Cascade hops as an aroma hop.

In 2013, Anchor was ranked the 21st largest craft brewery in the nation.

Anchor gallery

Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California on October 28, 2014. Nathan Pierce and Mark Carpenter, Brewmaster from Anchor Brewing (left), at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Bobby, leading a tour at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer fermenting at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014. Anchor Steam Beer on tap at Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California, October 28, 2014.

Of the early years at Anchor, Mark says, it was an “unbelievable place to learn to make beer. It was just a lot of fun.”

Mark is very humble. When I asked him the best idea he ever had for the brewery, he replied, “Boy, I don’t know. You’d have to ask somebody else.”

He says the biggest mistake he ever made is knowing that he had to let an employee go, but not doing it soon enough.

“Breweries are kind of magical places.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Michael Rohleder: Has the market reached the saturation point, is there still room for another craft brewer?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

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An upcoming beer style:

German Styles

Other resources:

You can reach Mark Carpenter and Anchor Brewing at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 010: How Ninkasi Went From a 15-BBL System to the 30th Largest Craft Brewery in the Nation w/ Ninkasi Brewing, from Eugene, Oregon.

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