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Brewing in America in 1879.
Beer-making in America was at a crucial turning point in 1879. The post-civil war brewery boom was nearly at its peak, German immigration into America was soaring, and most major cities in America boasted dozens of breweries. But, a period of great change was just around the corner. Beginning in earnest in the 1880s, widespread mechanization and expanding railroads gave rise to the era of the "Beer Barons." Small, neighborhood breweries began to disappear in the shadows of the brewery giants. Though nationwide beer production rose dramatically, the number of operating breweries declined. It was the beginning of a trend which would last nearly a century.
Take a look at some random, but interesting, facts about brewing in 1879,
(Data gleaned from F.W. Salem's 1880 book, Beer, Its History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage.)
An amazing 2,520 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 1879.
The beer production of U.S. breweries totaled 10,848,194 barrels (31 gallons per barrel) for the year ending May 1, 1879. Today, Anheuser-Busch alone produces more than eight-times that amount.
New York, with 365 breweries, was the largest beer-producing state in 1879. New York City supported about 75 breweries.
Pennsylvania was the second largest beer-producing state with 317 breweries.
The only states/territories which did not have at least one operating brewery in 1879 were Florida, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
In 1879, the nation's largest brewery (George Ehret's Hell Gate Brewery) made only about 1.5 percent of the country's beer. Today, the largest brewer (Anheuser-Busch) makes more than 40 percent of the beer brewed in America.
The twenty largest U.S. brewers in 1879 were:
|1||George Ehret||New York||180,152|
|2||Philip Best (later Pabst)||Milwaukee||167,974|
|3||Bergner & Engel||Philadelphia||124,860|
|6||P. Ballantine & Sons||Newark||106,091|
|7||Jacob Ruppert||New York||105,713|
|9||H. Clausen & Son||New York||89,992|
|10||William J. Lemp||St. Louis||88,714|
|11||Flanagan & Wallace||New York||84,825|
|13||Peter Doelger||New York||80,000|
|14||Beadleston & Woerz||New York||78,093|
|15||Boston Beer Company||Boston||77,232|
|16||Albany Brewing Company||Albany||71,568|
|17||Clausen & Price||New York||69,271|
|18||Downer & Bemis||Chicago||66,878|
|19||George Ringler||New York||65,658|
Source: Salem, F.W., BEER, ITS HISTORY AND ITS ECONOMIC VALUE AS A NATIONAL BEVERAGE. Hartford: F.W. Salem & Co., 1880.