The majority of beer that was produced in the US before prohibition was brewed by small operations that distributed it locally. There were neither highway trucks nor refrigeration which saw beer being drunk rather than being produced in large quantities and stored. During the year 1920-1933, official count of breweries went to zero. Breweries were later regulated and small scale productions were shut off basically after prohibition.
Large breweries later took off with the aid of transportation and refrigeration. Consolidation then took its toll and the number of breweries shrank until around the year 1980. However, in 1979, the legislation was signed by Jimmy Carter to reopen the market of the smaller brewers.
Now, the majority of Americans live within 10 miles of craft beer since the microbreweries and brewpubs have become very common.
Stats on growth
About $100 billion of US revenue is generated from beer and almost a half of that contributes both directly and indirectly to jobs of about $1.9 million. In this case, craft beer accounts for only 20% of the total volume of all the beer brewed in the US.
Most popular breweries
The brewers association released the list of the 10 top most craft breweries for the year 2016 based on the sale of beer in the year 2015 as follows.
D.G Yuengling and son Inc based in Pottsville
Boston Beer Co. based in Boston
Sierra Nevada Breweries Co based in Chico
New Belgium Brewing Co. based in Fort Collins
Lagunitas Brewing Co based in Petaluma
Gambrinus Based in San Antonio
Bell’s Brewery based in Comstock
Deschutes Brewery based in Bend
Minhas Craft Brewery based in Monroe
Stone Brewing Co. based Escondido
Beer Cap Country