Brewing beer has a long history in the United States. It dates back to colonial life, and despite receiving pushback during Prohibition in the 1920s, has remained an enormously popular part of life in America. From small microbrews to large scale breweries, beer is being produced across the scale. These are 6 famous breweries producing some of the nation’s most beloved beers.
1) Deschutes Brewery
Founded 31 years ago, the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon believes that beer brings people together. Gary Fish founded the company as a small brew pub in downtown Bend, naming it after the neighboring Deschutes River. In its first year, the young brewery sold 310 barrels of beer. Like the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the Deschutes Brewery is committed to sustainability, seeking to have only a positive impact on the surrounding community. It’s most known for its earliest products: Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The brewery distributes to 28 states and internationally. In 2012, Deschutes Brewery shipped 250,000 beer barrels within the United States.
2) Boston Beer Co.
Owning more than 60 types of Samuel Adams beer, the Boston Beer Co. is one of the largest and most popular beer manufacturers in the nation. The company’s signature beer was named after Samuel Adams, a Founding Father of the United States and Revolutionary War patriot. Boston Beer Co. also owns the popular Angry Orchard franchise which launched in 2012. James “Jim” Koch and Rhonda Kalman founded the company in 1984. Koch comes from a long line of brewers and, using the family recipe for Louis Koch Lager, the young brewer created his first batch of the beer in his kitchen.
2) Alaskan Brewing Co.
The Alaskan Brewing Co. located in Juneau, Alaska has won regional, national, and international awards for its craft beers. It was founded in 1986 by Marcy and Geoff Larson and the two still run the company today. The state itself has a long history in brewing, beginning when miners arrived for the 1700s Gold Rush. Modern beer produced in the region still resembles this early brew, using the same alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips to give smell, taste, and color to their beers. Since its opening, the Alaskan Brewing Co. has become one of the most award-winning breweries at the Great American Beer Festival and distributes to 22 states.
4) Oskar Blues Brewery
With locations in North Carolina, Texas, and Colorado, the Oskar Blues Brewery is one of the largest producers of beer in the nation. They began brewing in the basement of a pub in 1999, but by 2002 was the first beer to distribute their craft beer in cans. This decision helped the brewery rise in popularity. In 2009, the brewery hosted the “Burning Can” event that invited breweries who were distributing their craft beer in cans to gather. They began using resealable cans for their distribution 2012 and were named one of the hottest brands of the year in 2010 by Advertising Age. During their lifetime, Oskar Blues Brewery has proven themselves to be one of the fastest growing beer companies in the county.
5) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
“Freedom’s in the wild places, and so are the best beers you’ve ever had.” In the 1980s, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. entered the brewing scene and is one of the earliest sustainable breweries. With a rough set of pipes, pumps, and tanks, Ken Grossman started the company hoping to change the course of brewing in America. After several attempts, Grossman finally mastered the Pale Ale recipe with its signature pine and citrus aroma and helped ignite the county’s craft beer revolution. By 1994, the company’s production was increasing by 50% several years in a row. Slowly, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. opened breweries on the American East Coast and in Germany.
6) Uinta Brewing Co.
Uinta Brewing Co. began brewing beer in a renovated garage during a frigid Salt Lake City winter in 1993. Their signature beer is the Cutthroat Pale Ale, named after the state fish. The most popular beers that followed would all get their name from a notable part of the state. In 2001, Uinta Brewing became the first company to be 100% powered by wind and they installed solar panels on the brewery roofs in 2011. As of March 2015, Uinta sells their beers in 32 states and Washington D.C.
Brewing craft beer is an art that these companies have mastered. Their creative brewing and business strategies made them into industry successes.