Good News of the Day


Via Mark Perry

I reached drinking age (mercifully 18 in those days) in 1980 and I can tell you from experience that the early 80's were a beer wasteland.  Spent a lot of time learning foreign beers at a great little pub I discovered entirely by accident called the Gingerman in Houston (near Rice University).  The beer landscape in the US today is awesome by comparison.


  1. tjic:

    I was a teetotaler until I turned 40 (2011). Looks like I picked a good time to start drinking!

  2. WesternRover:

    I'm surprised there were no breweries during Prohibition. Officially there were zero, of course, but this is not a government chart. Was _all_ the alcohol drunk in speakeasies imported?

  3. marque2:

    Seems like there is still away to go, with population growth we need some 9900 breweries to equal 1890 on the chart

  4. Broccoli:

    Heh, drank many a beer in the Gingerman near Rice University.

  5. obloodyhell:

    I bet not a single one of them doesn't taste like the horse had some strange, unidentified disease... :oP

  6. obloodyhell:

    Mmmm, I don't think that's a scalable statistic...

  7. marque2:

    Why not? 62 million people had 2000 breweries in 1890 - so to have the same density you need 9900 today - what is wrong with saying that?

  8. D. Keith Casey, Jr.:

    We also have a Gingerman here in Austin. We do a bunch of tech meetups
    there. If you find yourself in the area, I'd happily buy you a round or
    three. :)

  9. obloodyhell:

    Well, off the top of my head,

    1) The breweries can be larger, serving more people

    2) As far as the different "tweaks" you can make to beer, there's a point of diminishing returns. Sure, you can have a small segment that wants "Strawberry-Guava KitKat flavored beer", but.. seriously, how many people are there willing to pay the premium price for it that a microbrewery involves once distribution and sale overhead come into play?

    I'd also doubt if the above count includes individual home brewers, for that matter, who collectively most likely easily throws us over that 9900 providers list, if you think on those terms.

  10. marque2:

    1) is irrelevant - the goal is to have more - or the chart is pointless. Apparently 89 really large breweries in 1979 were too few.

    2) I don't think this applies either, in Germany every town of any size has several breweries. And even making the same types of beer they all manage to taste different. Also so what if your small town has a restaurant brewery that makes a bock similar to someone else's? Point 2 is again irrelevant.

    All I said was to keep the same density of breweries to people you need 9900 breweries Whether you declare we do, or do not need that many is a whole different issue.

  11. obloodyhell:

    No, you asked: "what is wrong with saying that?"

    I answered.

    }}} Also so what if your small town has a restaurant brewery that makes a bock similar to someone else's

    It IS relevant in terms of what you're arguing in favor of, which is that the stat is directly scalable based on population. That means more than "can I multiply the numbers on both sides?" -- it means "does the multiplication have any relevant meaning in any social sense?".

    Also note that you just vaulted past the homebrew explosion of the last two decades that I also mentioned, which almost certainly puts up more than 9900 breweries even if you regard a typical homebrew as a 10th of a brewery due to legally limited output.


  12. marque2:

    It wasn't meant to be a scientific study. And yes I purposely vaulted past the homebrew comment since homebrew is not a brewery.

    I did a calculation yesterday, if we had a similar density to Germany we would have about 25,000 breweries in the USA. The little town my grandparents lived in had 3 and the population is less than 40K . No don't, get started again, it is just an interesting fact about density, not a viable business plan.


  13. markm:

    It's unclear if this chart includes home breweries. In any case, it's quite difficult to count what must be kept hidden.

    And finally and maybe most important, no one was brewing, smuggling, or drinking beer according to the Prohibition-era stories I've read. Moonshiners made whiskey or gin, or it's more accurate to say "whiskey-like" products without any aging. It's about as easy (and I think faster = less time for the revenuers to catch you) to ferment and distill hard liquor as to brew beer, and you get a lot more alcohol per gallon. They wanted the product as concentrated as possible, since they still had to smuggle it out of the woods to their customers.

    For the same reason, smugglers would have preferred distilled drinks, high quality and as strong as practical to justify a high price. E.g., Loren D. Estleman's stories of Prohibition era Detroit have gangsters and solid citizens alike driving to Canada and filling their trunks with hard liquor. It was legal until you crossed the border, but with the trouble you'd have getting that load across the border, you wouldn't bother with low-proof drinks.