Chapter 1

U.S. Beer Industry

Industry History

The U.S. beer industry got its start in the 1840s and 1850s with the introduction of lager style beers, brought by German immigrants. Before that point, beers were heavily oriented toward ale, porter, and stout and were mostly brewed at home. At about the same time, several technological advances occurred that led to the development of the U.S. beer industry as we know it today. Mechanical refrigeration greatly aided in the production as well as the storage of beer. Pasteurization was also adopted during this period, which opened the way for wide-scale bottling and off-premise consumption of beer. By 1850 there were about 430 breweries in the United States, producing about 750,000 barrels of beer annually. Commercial brewers began to grow in size and number, and by the late nineteenth century there were almost 1,300 breweries.

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