It’s National American Beer Day, which means it’s time to celebrate a long history of brewing, drinking, and ignoring prohibition. Here’s some data about American beer and American beer drinkers that will go down smooth.
Beer is America’s favorite alcoholic beverage, and we drink a lot of it — about 6.4 billion gallons per year. We pale in comparison to China, though, which guzzles more than 11 billion gallons annually. If you look at consumption per capita, Europe drinks the rest of the world under the table. Nine of the top ten beer-drinking countries are European. The #1 thirstiest country in the world? The Czech Republic.
America: A Country of Breweries
Many of the big American breweries have their roots in the mid-nineteenth century, when German immigrants with a taste for alt-malt lagers made their way to the Midwest. Many of these names will sound familiar: Adolphus Busch, Frederick Pabst, Joseph Schlitz, Adolph Coors, Theodore Hamm, Frederick Miller.
Federal prohibition officially killed the party on January 17th, 1920, but many breweries kept up their work in basements and backrooms. When prohibition ended in 1933, only 300 breweries reemerged and resumed brewing, and the big old companies like Budweiser and Coors picked off the competition and dominated the market. When H.R 1337, which legalized homebrewing and led directly to the microbrewing movement, was signed into law in 1978, only 42 breweries were operating in America.
The next thirty years saw an explosion of craft brewing in the U.S. Budweiser and Coors may still be the best-selling American beer brands in the world, but microbreweries have revived forgotten styles like the IPA, saison, and sour ale, and American beer culture is becoming more nuanced and varied every week.
Cold Beer at Killer
Here at Killer Infographics, the one thing we love more than flawlessly executed visual communication is blowing the suds off a few cold ones. Luckily for us, we’re in Washington state, one of the finest areas in the country for microbrews and the center of the country’s hops production — 77% of the hops used in America come from the Yakima Valley.
National American Beer Day has a lot to celebrate: a history of hardworking, hard-drinking immigrants, local innovation, American agriculture, and the end of prohibition. So crack open a cold one from your local brewery, or stick with a classic domestic — it’s National American Beer Day!