The craft brew sensation is upon us and it has many people wondering about the history of beer in America. The truth is that beer itself has a long and storied past, but the history of microbreweries is particularly interesting. This quick history lesson will certainly help you impress all of your craft brew drinking buddies on trivia night.
The earliest beers in America traced their roots back to Germany and the Czech Republic. Many early immigrants to this country brought their favorite simple recipes to this land and began mass-producing them. Unfortunately, the beer industry as a whole hit some major speed bumps along the way with Prohibition and a consolidation of breweries. The result was a lackluster market that was just begging for a fresh new take on things.
Enter Fritz Maytag, son of the great Maytag appliance millionaire. He purchased a majority stake in San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company in 1965. Immediately after taking over the company he realized there was a dire need for change. Hence, the first microbrew was created, breaking away from the standard light beers that dominated the scene.
Microbreweries and Brewpubs
Throughout the 1980s, home brewers really began to take matters into their own hands. First they created their own recipes, and then they launched microbreweries in their local environments where they could serve family and friends. Brewpubs became a gathering place for fans of full-flavored beers in a wide variety of styles.
Nevertheless, many of these microbreweries faced challenging laws and a difficult market, so they tended to come and go. Finally, near the end of the ’80s, a handful of breakout stars started gaining attention on the national stage. The first of these was The New Albion Brewery of Sonoma, California, according to the Brewers Association.
The Today and Tomorrow of Craft Brewing
Since the ’80s, the craft brewing industry has skyrocketed to success, becoming a true competitor to some of America’s oldest major breweries. The popularity of craft brewing seems to come in waves, with huge booms every few years as new brands emerge and new technologies are unleashed.
Currently, there are more than 4,500 craft breweries actively operating in the US and hundreds more are trying to break into the scene. According to a report released in 2013, nearly all Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery.
Lone Star Taps & Caps is proud to be a part of the craft beer history and culture in Fort Worth. We invite you to stop into our bar in Fort Worth to experience some of today’s best Texas craft beers. Our two Fort Worth breweries are always here with fresh new recipes for you to enjoy!