How Many Independent Breweries Existed in 1900?

Kristen Lagos

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In the year 1900, how many independent breweries were making beer in the United States?
In 1900, there were approximately 2,000 independent brewing companies in the United States. Of those, fewer than twenty remain in business today.

How did breweries survive the Prohibition era?
Some of America’s breweries did survive Prohibition - mostly by making “near beer” (with low to no alcohol content), soft drinks, or yeast. Anheuser Busch used the refrigerated trucks they had invented for transporting beer to transport ice cream, which they manufactured. Pabst made malt syrup, which was widely purchased in super markets to make homebrew. Unfortunately, many of the smaller craft breweries did not survive.

Why are beer cans environmentally friendlier than beer bottles?
A number of reasons! The average U.S. beer can is made from aluminum containing 54% recycled material, while American beer bottles are typically composed of 20- 30% recycled glass. Also, the energy savings that accumulate when you recycle a ton of aluminum are far greater than they are for glass - 95% vs. 26.5%. Furthermore, unlike colored glass, cans are infinitely recyclable.

Originally published in our newsletter Micro Brew News accompanying your monthly Beer Club shipments featuring beers from Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Colorado.