Prior to Prohibition, the U.S. was home to an abundance of breweries.  The number fell to zero during the years the law was in place, and rose again when the amendment was repealed.  The post WWII era saw the rise of mega conglomerates like MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch.

The American beer industry has boomed in the 2000s, thanks to the rapid rise of microbreweries.  Spurred partly by dissatisfaction with the old, familiar beers, and partly out of a desire to create opportunities for themselves rather than finding them elsewhere, microbrewers across the nation have opened shop, supporting local economies in the process.

The growth is impressive.  According to Derek Thompson of The Atlantic, “Between 2008 and 2016, the number of brewery establishments expanded by a factor of six, and the number of brewery workers grew by 120 percent. Yes, a 200-year-old industry has sextupled its establishments and more than doubled its workforce in less than a decade.”[1]

In addition to creating jobs, these microbreweries support local economies and communities by collaborating with farmers and other small businesses.  For example, hops, barley and other ingredients are often sourced locally.  Additionally, microbreweries typically collaborate with local restaurants and food trucks, which in turn helps those enterprises.  Once a microbrewery and its network begin to get some buzz, people make a point to visit, which in turn helps entire towns.  State and local governments have taken notice, and as a result in many places microbreweries benefit from various grants and tax incentives.  As a result, many towns that have suffered economically in the post war years have seen a revitalization thanks to these microbreweries.

For more on small town microbreweries, check out this article in the New York Times:




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