American Beer History
With the recent increase in the number of craft beers available in the United States, many beer lovers are calling this the best era for beer. However, the production of beer in America comes with a long history that has led us to where we are now. Understanding this extensive history can help you better appreciate the quality of your beer and the pride that brewers take in their work. Craftbeers.com offers a brief overview of the changes in brewing over American history and the effects craft brews have had on the beer market
Although beer was made in the Americas long before European settlers came, the first true beer industry began in 1612 in what is now Manhattan. The industry did not take off until the 19th century, however, and even then the per capita consumption of beer reached less than one gallon. Many people across the country still brewed their own beer in their home, and they did not seek out commercially brewed drinks. However, as this industry slowly took off, the per capita beer consumption reached approximately 20 gallons. During this time, brewers were experimenting with different flavor combinations and discovered the recipes that consumers preferred. Unfortunately, the National Prohibition in 1920 effectively ended the mainstream beer market until the act was repealed in 1933. Once prohibition ended, many breweries became a part of larger companies, which swallowed the independent brewers. However, in 1965, this began to change as craft beers became slowly more popular. By the end of the 20th century, there was an explosion of interest in craft beers that permanently changed the beer industry. Today there are 5,000 breweries in the United States that offer a wide variety of different types of beers. Craft breweries are also able to provide a large and stable workforce, employing an estimated 129,000 individuals and significantly impacting the U.S. economy.
While many of the nationally-known beer companies are still popular today, due to their price and their availability, many American are more interested in trying craft brews. These beers offer more intense flavors and different flavor pairings that national brewers simply cannot provide. Although these large companies were a necessity for re-growing the beer industry post-prohibition, they are falling out of favor for the better. The current industry allows for more brewers and gives them the license to be creative with their work. This gives consumers more and better choices of beer and has greatly increased the national interest in beer.
One of the benefits many people still see in national beers, however, is their availability. Craft beers are difficult to find in stores, and the bottled or canned versions of these beers cannot offer the same freshness that you would get on-tap. However, companies like Growler Chill are aiming to fix this problem. Their product allows you to keep craft beers fresh and on-tap in your home for an extended period of time. With inventions like this, craft beers may be able to become a standard part of every home.