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The First State

Known to many as the First State, we have Delaware. The beer history in Delaware traces back to the early 1600s when the first Dutch, English, and Swedish settlers arrived, bringing with them all of their brewing traditions. However, the Dutch and Swedish were the key players for the Delaware beer history, bringing methods and traditions from their homelands. Initially, beer was brewed as a safe guard against water borne illnesses.

Prior to Prohibition, there were three main breweries that dominated the beer scene, and they were: Bavarian, Hartmann & Fehrenbach, and Diamond State. Only two of these three survived through the 13-year alcohol ban. Post Prohibition, two new breweries called Delmarva and Krueger opened. Not long after, all five of these breweries were gone with Diamond State Brewery being the last to close in 1955. Of course Prohibition hurt the brewing industry, but even prior to 1920, there was a strong anti-bar movement in Delaware that was led by the Anti-Saloon League established in the late 1800s.

After the Prohibition, a three-tier system was instilled to prevent breweries from becoming to big and powerful. The origin of craft beer began in 1978 when home brewing was legalized. With this law change, beer lovers that couldn’t afford to buy beer sought out ways to make their own. In 1998, it was officially made legal, and the people began experimenting.

Brewing picked back up in 1995 when Rockford Brewing and Dogfish Head Brewing opened at nearly the same time. Dogfish Head deserves a little extra recognition though. The brewery started by Sam Calagione in Rehoboth Beach was originally known as the smallest commercial brewery in America, but today is one of the most outstanding, dominating craft breweries in the nation.

By the end of 2013, the state had ten craft breweries and was rated fourth in the United States in gallons of craft beer made per each adult. While Dogfish Head Craft Brewing and Iron Hill Brewery are recognized as the leading breweries in the state, there are many other small entities worth trying.

In our Craft Beer Club we have featured several beers from Mispillion River Brewing, 16 Mile Brewing Company, and 3rd Wave Brewing Company. We look forward to featuring many more. Cheers!

Delaware Breweries