From Reason Online:
In 1980, there were fewer than 50 breweries in the United States. Today, over 1,400 craft breweries help the U.S. produce more styles of beer than anywhere else in the world. A new Reason.tv video explores the history of beer in America and shows how deregulation paved the way for the recent American beer revolution.
European immigrants brought beer to America, building breweries wherever they settled. By 1870, there were more than 4,000 breweries in the U.S. But in 1920, prohibition decimated the industry. When prohibition ended, home brewing was still a crime punishable by five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
In 1979, consumer choice and freedom finally returned when the unlikely figure of President Jimmy Carter signed a law allowing individuals to brew small batches of beer at home. Innovative home brewers became entrepreneurs and opened craft breweries across the country. The craft brewing industry generated over $6 billion in sales and produced over 8.5 million barrels of beer in 2008.
“The American Revolutionaries were beer drinkers who fought for a free society,” says Reason.tv editor Nick Gillespie. “Here’s to freedom, choice and great American beer.”
Nick insists that last is not an oxymoron. And here’s some evidence to back him up: Best Beer in America 2009 – not to mention some pretty cool graphics.
Watch Beer: An American Revolution right here: