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A Brief History of Craft Beer in the United States of America

#DrinkLocal is a global movement in efforts to support local craft breweries and brewers. Here’s why you should #drinklocal by drinking American beers.

A Brief History of Craft Beer in the United States of America
Why Should You Drink American Beers?

Beer is the drink of champions, which is why you should be drinking American craft beer! By drinking locally-made beers from American breweries, helping provide new opportunities for economic development in the beer industry. The best way to do this is by drinking craft beers from local breweries. This is very important because the beer industry in the United States is massive:

The Craft Brewing Industry Contributed $76.2 Billion to the U.S. Economy in 2017, creating more than 500,000 Jobs.

Brewers Association

History of Craft Beer in the United States

Craft beer had its humble beginnings in the USA when Fritz Maytag, an entrepreneur/Stanford Grad decided to buy a share of an old brewery that was facing closure in 1965. To keep the brewery afloat, he needed to sell more beer. Back then, most of the beer found on the shelves were light lagers– so Maytag thought outside the box and began creating different beer styles such as the Anchor Porter (1972), Christmas Ale (1975), and Liberty Ale (1975), generally labeled the country’s first modern IPA. By 1978, there were a mere 89 breweries in America.

In 1979, Homebrewing was legalized for personal use, however, the brewing of beer higher than 0.5% was illegal since the Prohibition. This provided more opportunity for new craft brewers to get creative with their brews. According to Charlie Papazian, the founder of the Brewers Association, 90% of brewers start out as homebrewers. By the mid-1990s, craft beer was booming and microbreweries were opening all across the United States. Microbrewery growth was growing at 20% per year minimum between 1985 and 1997.

By 1997, there were 1,396 breweries in the US providing a quite saturated market. Many people viewed craft brewing as a “get rich quick” scheme, which led to the closure and decline in breweries over the next decade. Which wasn’t necessarily a negative thing, in this case, only the best craft brews survived.

Fast forward to the 2010s, the USA’s craft beer industry has grown as an opposition to the corporate “lite” lagers that took over the United States, post-Prohibition. Craft beer now dominated the beer industry—not just in America, but the world over.

Quick facts about Craft Beer in the United States Today
  • In 1987, craft brewing only had 0.1% of total beer sales. By today, it accounts for nearly 20% of America’s $100 billion-plus market.
  • According to the Brewers Association, the US craft beer market is worth $21.6 Billion, making up 13% of the market share.
What is #DrinkLocal?

#DrinkLocal is more than just a beer hashtag, it’s a craft beer movement.

Drink Local or “#drinklocal” is an important grass-roots social movement. The #DrinkLocal tag creates awareness and support for local breweries, pubs, taprooms and liquor stores. Click here to learn more about the #drinklocal movement or tap into the world of American craft beer by visiting our USA Beer Guide to find the best craft beers in your state.

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