In the Middle East the Sumer people were fermenting a form of bread to make a fermented pulp which had an intoxicating effect – a “divine drink”.
The Babylonians had up to 20 different types of beer. The early beer was cloudy and unfiltered and was usually drunk through a straw to avoid drinking the solids from the brew, which could be very bitter.
A “Hymn to Ninkasi,” the Sumerian goddess of beer, is inscribed on a tablet, about 4,000 years after men first leave evidence of brewing activity.
The Egyptians were also keen brewers and beer and malt has been found buried in the tombs of the Pharaohs to provide sustenance for the afterlife.
Beer was extensively drunk throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans preferred wine and introduced grapes into much of the Southern part of the Empire including the South of England. The local inhabitants tended to drink beer. Beer from this time had to be consumed fresh, was served cloudy and would have produced little or no foam. To aid its taste and keeping properties bitter herbs and spices may have been used.
Saint Arnold of Metz is born, one of dozens of patron saints to beer, brewers and hop-pickers. He helps end a plague by convincing people to drink beer rather than impure water.
First mention of Hops in German records of brewing.
Hildegarde writes that hops added to beer “reduced the putrefaction” caused by spoilage organisms. The addition of hops slowly spreads throughout Europe reaching Britain in the mid-1400’s.
The Reinheitsgebot, instituted in Bavaria, is a beer “purity law” that remains today in revised form. The original laws permit beer to be made only with barley, hops and water, later acknowledging yeast and permitting wheat.
Heinrich Knaust writes the first extensive book on brewing in Germany, describing in detail about 150 different beers. He calls the “noble Hamburg beer the queen of all other wheat beers.”
Virginia colonists first brew ale using corn.
Adriam Block & Hans Christiansen establish the first known brewery in the New World on the southern tip of what is today Manhattan Island.
Pilgrims arrive in Plymouth in the Massachusetts colony aboard the Mayflower. Beer is in extremely short supply on board, so much so that the Captain and crew force the passengers ashore to ensure there is a sufficient supply of beer for the return trip to England.
William Frampton erects the first brewery in Philadelphia on Front Street.
Major William Horton builds the first brewery in the Deep South on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
George Washington documents his recipe for beer in notebooks at his home in Mt, Vernon, VA.
“The Theory and Practice of Brewing” by Michael Combrune is published. It is the first attempt to establish rules and principles for the art of brewing.
The British Army builds a brewery at Fort Pitt, site of modern Pittsburgh, PA. It is the first brewery west of the Allegheny Mountains.
That same year the French build a brewery at a settlement in what is today Illinois. It is the first brewery outside the 13 colonies.
There are 132 operating breweries in the US producing 185,000 barrels (approximately 2,550,000 cases) of beer.
David Yuengling opens a brewery in Pottsville, PA. It continues in operation until 1995 as the oldest operating brewery in the US. The company is still in business and owned by the Yuengling family.
Jacob Best starts a brewery in Milwaukee which later becomes the Pabst Brewing Co.
The American Temperance Union celebrates its 20th anniversary and Maine is the first state to pass a prohibition law.
August Krug forms a brewery in Milwaukee which evolved into the Schlitz Brewery.
Adam Schuppert Brewery opens in San Francisco becoming California’s first brewery.
431 breweries in the country produce 750,000 barrels (31 gallons per barrel) of beer.
Eberhard Anheuser takes control of the Bavarian Brewery in St. Louis and renames it E. Anheuser & Co.
1,269 breweries produce over one million barrels of beer.
Adolphus Busch, a brewery parts salesman, marries Lilly Anheuser and joins his Father-in-laws company.
Thomas Cooper opens a small brewery in Adelaide, Australia producing a Pale Ale and heavier Ale.
The United States Brewers Association is formed.
There are 3,700 breweries in operation in the US producing 6 million barrels of beer.
E. Anheuser Co. becomes Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association and adopts the A and Eagle trademark.
4,131 breweries produce 9 million barrels of beer.
Louis Pasteur publishes “Studies on Beer” showing how yeast organisms can be controlled and introducing the process of “Pasteurization”.
Adolphus Busch and Carl Conrad develop the recipe for Budweiser.
Malt was first taxed in Britain in 1660, and the legislation prohibited the use of other cereals in brewing. This purity act continued until it was repealed by William Gladstone in 1880 and replaced by a tax on the sugar content of the wort prior to fermentation. The repeal followed a bad barley harvest and pressure from the colonial sugar growers to allow sugar cane to be used in the beer. The new law enabled “the brewer to brew from what he pleases and have a perfect choice of his materials and methods”. The predominant beers of the day were dark, quite sweet and malty – and often served at different alcoholic strength – strong ale, medium ale and weak ale made from different extracts of the same brew.
US Internal Revenue Department records indicate there are 2,830 ale and lager breweries in operation. This number will drop to around 1,500 by 1910.
The first brew of about 400 gallons of beer is produced by Thomas Cooper in his new brewery at the Leabrook Brewery outside of Adelaide. Leabrook remains the home of Coopers for the next 120 years.
Adolphus Busch and Otto Koehler establish the Lone Star Brewing Co. in San Antonio, Texas.
Crown Cap invented by William Painter of Crown Cork and Seal Co. in Baltimore, MD.
Tax on beer rose to $2.00 per barrel during Spanish American War.
The Royal Brewery is opened and becomes the first commercial brewery to operate in Hawaii.
Prohibition, in the form of the 18th amendment, outlaws the sale of alcohol in the United States. It is ratified on January 16th. HR No. 6810 presented in May by Rep. Andrew Volstead establishing the apparatus for enforcement of prohibition. It was passed on October 10th, and then vetoed by President Woodrow Wilson on October 27th. That veto was subsequently overridden by Congress and the act became law.
18th Amendment goes into effect January 16th.
Coopers is incorporated in October.
Coopers brew one million gallons of beer for the first time.
On March 23rd, President Franklin Roosevelt signs into law legislation permitting the sale of 3.2% beer. By June, 31 brewers are back in business. On December 5th, the 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment and “Happy Days are Here Again!”
756 brewers back in operation in the US.
Canned beer introduced by American Can Company and Krueger Brewing Co of New Jersey.
Beer production reaches pre-prohibition levels with only ½ the number of breweries in operation as in 1910.
Per barrel tax rose from $5.00 to $6.00.
Because it is not practical to ship beer, the HMS Menestheus, a British mine-laying ship, is converted into a floating brewery to supply beer to British and Allied troops in the Asian theater during World War II.
Tax per barrel on beer rose to $8.00.
There are 407 breweries in operation.
Tax per barrel of beer rose to $9.00.
Aluminum can is introduced by the Adolf Coors Co. of Golden, CO.
230 breweries were in operation. Only 140 are independently run.
First “Tab Top” can is introduced by Pittsburgh Brewing Company.
First “Ring Pull” can top introduced.
Coopers launches its first lager beer Gold Crown.
Canned beer outsells bottled beer for the first time. That same year Fritz Maytag takes ownership of the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco.
Philip Morris Co. acquires Miller Brewing Co.
Development of Cascade hops began in Corvallis, Oregon, in 1956. The hop is released to brewers in 1972 and becomes a hallmark aroma and flavor for beer from American small-batch “craft” brewers.
Michael Jackson, “The Beer Hunter”, writes The World Guide to Beer, one of the inspirations for a “beer revolution.”
The first ale is served in a new brewery in Sonoma, CA. Jack McAuliffe’s venture is short lived, but the New Albion Brewery will become known as America’s first “Micro”, or “Craft” Brewery.
Hilton Harvest House in Boulder, Colorado, hosts a modest 20 breweries serving only 35 beers for the first Great American Beer Festival. Today the annual event features more than 2,000 beers.
That same year, for the first time since prohibition, Yakima Brewing and Malting Co. Inc. is allowed to serve food as well as its own beers. The modern “Brew Pub” is born.
51 brewing concerns are operating a total of 80 breweries. This is the low water mark for breweries in the 20th century.
The top six breweries (Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Heileman, Stroh, Coors, and Pabst) control 92% of U.S. beer production.
44 Brewing concerns are operating a total of 83 breweries. Micro-Breweries begin to spread: Riley-Lyon (AR): Boulder (CO); Snake River (ID); Millstream (IA); Columbia River (OR); Kessler (MT); Chesapeake Bay (VA). Manhattan Brewing Co., in New York City’s SOHO section, becomes the first Brew Pub on the east coast. Jim Koch establishes the Boston Beer Company.
Rogue Brewery and Pub opens in Ashland, OR
Coopers changes name from Cooper & Sons Ltd to Coopers Brewery Ltd.
Rogue’s Bayfront Pub opens in Newport, OR and John Maier, a Seibel Institute graduate, joined Rogue.
Astronaut-home brewer Bill Readdy, blasts into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery carrying an unofficial package, a bag containing Cascades hops. Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria, B.C., later makes a beer brewed with the hops that circled the earth 128 times.
Approximately 500 breweries are operating in the United States, and they are estimated to increase at a rate of 3 or 4 per week.
1,102 “Craft” breweries produce 5.3 million barrels of beer: a record 333 new brewpubs and microbreweries open in one year.
1,315 craft breweries produce 5.5 million barrels of beer.
1,376 craft breweries produce 5.5 million barrels of beer.
A crowded industry feels the strain of such a large number of producers and begins to correct itself, resulting in the closing of many brewpubs and microbreweries across the nation.
1,147 craft breweries produce 5.8 million barrels as the craft brewing industry begins a period of more stable, consistent growth.
1,147 craft breweries produce 6.1 million barrels of beer.
1,458 breweries produce 6.2 million barrels of beer. Annual dollar volume for craft beer is $3.4 billion. US brewing industry total is $51 billion.
Coopers’ new brewery at Regency Park is officially opened.
Following the takeover of Fosters by SABMiller, Coopers becomes the last major Australian owned brewery.
US craft brewing sales share in 2012 was 6.5 percent by volume and 10.2 percent by dollars. 2,347 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2012, comprised of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft breweries. Coopers commemorates its 150th anniversary with the launch of a brand new ale, not surprisingly called ‘Celebration Ale’!
US Craft brewers reached 7.8 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market. Additionally, craft dollar share of the total U.S. beer market reached 14.3 percent in 2013, as retail dollar value from craft brewers was estimated at $14.3 billion. More than 2,800 U.S. breweries operated for some or all of 2013, of which 99 percent were small and independent craft brewers as defined by the Brewers Association. Of those craft breweries, there were 1,237 brewpubs, 1,412 microbreweries and 119 regional craft breweries.
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