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  Beginning in 1906, a series of tragedies hit Anchor hard. Co-owner Ernst Baruth died suddenly in February. Two months later, the devastating fire that followed San Francisco's great earthquake completely consumed the Anchor Brewery, still on Pacific between Larkin and Hyde. In January 1907, as the process of rebuilding the Brewery at a new location (18th and Hampshire) neared completion, its thirty-seven-year-old owner, Otto Schinkel, Jr., boarded a streetcar near his Bryant Street home. As the car lurched forward, Schinkel was thrown to the street, run over, and killed.

Fortunately for Anchor Steam Beer lovers then and now, German brewers Joseph Kraus and August Meyer, along with liquor store owner Henry Tietjen, were able to keep Anchor going, until Prohibition shut them down in 1920.

Will Rogers quipped, "Prohibition is better than no liquor at all." But a great Anchor bootlegging story—indeed any Anchor bootlegging story—has yet to bubble to the historical surface. Some San Francisco breweries survived Prohibition by making malt extracts and tonics, or by bottling nonalcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, there is no record of Joseph Kraus or his Anchor Brewery doing anything—legal or illegal—during Prohibition, other than waiting with the rest of San Francisco for the return of Anchor Steam.


Our old neighborhood, after the quake


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Click to enlarge this rare Anchor Steam ad from 1909