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A brief history of beer

A timeline that illustrates our obsession with the beverage

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1940 Beer production is back up to the same level as before Prohibition, even though the country has only half the number of breweries it did before Prohibition.

1965 The grandfather of craft brewing, Fritz Maytag, buys Anchor Brewing, which brewed unique and traditional beers during a time when many of them were dying out.

1976 New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, Calif., is founded by a homebrew enthusiast. Though the brewery didn’t last, it did spur an interest in homebrewing, which helped establish the interest in craft brews that we see today.

1978 Homebrewing is made legal by the federal government, though we can’t for a minute imagine a world in which it were illegal.

1982 Yakima Brewing and Malting Co., considered the first brewpub to open in the nation since Prohibition, opens in Yakima, Wash.

1983 Six main breweries – Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Heileman, Stroh, Coors and Pabst – control more than 90 percent of beer production in the United States.

1990 Sierra Nevada Brewery from Chico, Calif., becomes the first microbrewery to get its break into the big time when it bottles enough beer that it’s no longer considered micro at all.

1993 Retail sales of beer exceed $45 billion.

1996 BeerAdvocate.com, where we sourced some of the information in this piece, launches.

2012 The Brewers Association estimates that there are about 2,300 craft brewers in operation, and that craft brewing sales make up 6.5 percent of all beer sold in the United States by volume.

2013 More than 1,500 breweries are in development in the United States, craft brewers operate in 344 Congressional districts, and most Americans are lucky enough to live within 10 miles of a brewery.

2014 Orlando Weekly publishes its second-ever Beer Issue. The whole staff raises a glass in approval.

Sources: Beeradvocate.com, beerhistorycom, craftbeer.com, the Straight Dope, the Brewers Association, Smithsonianmag.com

The Beer Issue
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