BETWEEN THE BOOMS
1873 Straub Brewery in Pennsylvania was among the largest ever number of breweries operating in America during 1873. Straub is still operating today.
In 1873, there were 4,131 breweries in the USA, says the Brewers Association. That was the high point in regards to sheer number of breweries operating in the U.S. Most were very small and locally focused, with the largest brewery in the country producing 138,449 barrels. The Straub Brewery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania is an example of such an early brewery. The Straub’s have been producing beer continuously since 1872.
The low point in number of American breweries occurred in 1978 when fewer than 50 brewing companies were operating.
1978 Chicago’s Peter Hand brewery, makers of Old Chicago brand closed during this era when many old breweries were lost or gobbled up by competitors.
In 2015, the U.S. finally crossed the mark set in 1873, and achieved a new high for most breweries in American history with 4,144 at the end of November. The Brewers Association notes there are more than 1,800 breweries in current planning stages as brewery growth shows no signs of slowing.