Abbreviated US Breweries Time Line

This is a repost from a blog I did awhile back. Mostly I want y'all to be aware of the Beer Wars documentary. If you have any interest in beer at all, this documentary has to be on your Christmas list. It is simultaneously riveting and scary (big breweries invest a lot of money into the government...a lot of money).


I've watched the Beer Wars documentary twice now. My head is still spinning from all the information thrown out at you. Not so much overwhelmed with data, but the extent Anheuser-Bucsh/In-Bev go to crush the competition...more about that later.

Watching the documentary prompted me to want to get a better picture of the number of US breweries in operation:

Unless otherwise linked, all time line information is from beeradvocate.com or beerinfo.com:
  • 1810: 132 US breweries in operation
  • 1829: What would become Yuengling & Son is founded. It is the oldest (& still family owned) US Brewery in operation today.
  • 1873: total number of US breweries peaked at 4131
  • From 1880 – 1910: # of US breweries declined from 2830 – 1568
  • 1934: # of US breweries = 756
  • 1950: # of US breweries = 407
  • 1951: St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch kicks off the big breweries aggressive expansion trend by building a 2nd brewery in Newark, NJ
  • 1960: 229 US breweries (140 independently owned)
  • 1969: Anchor Steam starts brewing high quality non-mainstream beers
  • 1970: 142 US breweries in operation
  • 1977: The short lived New Albion Brewery is considered the first modern Microbrewery operating in the US
  • 1978: Home Brewing legalized.
  • 1980: 82 active US Breweries
  • 1982: Bert Grant opens the 1st Brew Pub opens in Yakima, WA (law past allows breweries to brew & sell their own beers on premises)
  • 1983: US Breweries hit the low mark of 80 breweries.
  • 1984: Boston Brewery is founded, & Sam Adams Boston Lager is born.
  • 1995: 500 US breweries in operation
  • 1996: Record of 333 new brew pubs/microbreweries open in one year. Total US breweries is 1102
  • 2001: 1485 US breweries in operation
  • 2009: Total number of US Breweries hits 100 year high at 1525 breweries in operation.

Check back for my takeaways from the documentary. I Highly Recommend you see this video.


Beer Wars Movie Trailer

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