Of the hundreds of US breweries which began (or resumed) production when Prohibition was repealed in 1933, less than 40 were still in business in the late 1970s. Most of these were national or large regional companies producing a standard style of pale lager (which is still the principal beer style of the US brewing industry). However, foreign travel and the imported beer trade introduced many Americans to the traditional beer styles of other countries, while diversity and novelty were becoming fashionable in relation to food and beverages in general. Home brewing was also becoming an increasingly popular hobby. The American Homebrewers' Association was founded in 1978, the same year in which the first new microbreweries appeared. By 1985 there were 9 brewpubs and 21 other microbreweries in the USA, while in September 1994 there were 472 microbreweries (including brewpubs) and 9 new regional speciality breweries which had been founded as microbreweries and expanded (in the USA a microbrewery is defined as one which produces less than 15000 US beer barrels a year; 1 barrel = 31 US gallons). Very few of these breweries produce the standard lager style favoured by the national and old regional breweries; the range of beer styles produced is very wide and includes creditable replications of most of the classical styles of the British Isles and continental Europe (Irish stout, Scottish and English ales, Belgian fruit beers, Bavarian wheat beer, etc., etc.). Although at the time of writing microbreweries and regional speciality breweries only accounted for 1% of total US beer production, demand for their products is growing rapidly and is expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Keywords : beer brewery microbrewing survey