History of the hops: 125-year brewery count

By Sara Croft | August 9, 2012


If I told you there were around 2,000 independent U.S. breweries in the year 1890, would you believe me?

The Brewers Association, a 70-year-old organization devoted to protecting and advocating for the beer industry, has recently released a mid-year report stating that the total brewery count for the United States has hit a 125-year high of over 2,126 registered breweries – an increase of 350 breweries since June of 2011.

Wait, if there were 2,000 breweries in 1890, why aren’t there way more, now?

Blame Prohibition, which wiped out almost all of the breweries other than those who dared to produce “underground” alongside moonshiners. According to Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, “only about 300 breweries emerged to renew their brewing once Prohibition was repealed.”

It wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s when homebrewers started emerging into the scene, leading to microbreweries and eventually full-size craft breweries. This was due to “open source” collaborative brewing efforts has been dubbed the “beer revolution” period.

Indiana has a rich history of beer that has been captured by local historians. If you’re looking to read up on Indiana beer, pick up one of these great titles:

Indiana now has dozens of breweries, many of which are nationally known and have earned medals for their brews. Dig IN gives you the opportunity to meet Indiana brewers and try their brews all in one spot. Don’t miss out on getting your tickets before the event sells out!