Microbreweries - Growth of Microbreweries

Many historians believe that the ancient Sumerians and Mesopotamians were brewing as early back as 10,000 B.C. Although nobody knows for sure, it is suggested that even though this product would have been different from the bottled brews of today, it would have still been recognizable.

The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese brewed their beer, as did civilizations in America, where they used corn instead of barley. Back then, thousands of years ago, microbrews were very popular and on their way to what we now know and love today. In the middle ages, European monks were the guardians of literature and science, as well as the art of beer making. Not only did they get the process down to a fine art, they also perfected the use of hops as both a flavoring and a preservative.

However, it was only when Louis Pasteur discovered that yeast was an actual living organism that brewers were able to control the conversion of sugar into alcohol. Up until that time, brewers had relied on the wild yet airborne yeast for fermentation.

Grapes grow well in warmer climates, while barley grows better in cooler climes. This is the main reason that the northern areas of Germany and England first became famous for their beers.

Everything in America went dim until the dark days of 1920, when prohibition took effect. A lot of breweries went out of business or switched their production to soda pop. Not everyone stopped drinking, but gangster related products were not known for their high quality.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, he quickly appealed the very unpopular prohibition law. The new breeds of beer that came after World War 2 were generally mass produced and very bland.

With their own varieties of flavor and alcohol content, microbrews are here today because beer distributors noticed a market demand and took a gamble on imports such Corona in the 1970's. Although only selling to a limited market, this type of full flavoured beer was met by an very enthusiastic crowd.

Beer manufacturers create what sells, therefore they did not believe that there would be a significant market with those types of beers. Consumer studies and sales showed that the biggest part of the American public enjoyed a watery brew.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, microbrews popped up after the first successful brew, Samuel Adams, fought with import distributors to try and convince them that a full flavored American beer would sell. These days, we have more microbrews than ever before with more appearing each and every day.

Once distributors believed that at least some people would buy them, microbrews started to become a hit. However, home brewers and brewpubs had legal wars and it was not until 1968 that home brewing was legalized. Now, home brewers had the support and assistance of supply and advice stores.

In the US, brewpubs were illegal in all states up until 1983. Later that same year, California became the first state to allow brewpubs to brew and distribute their brands of beer on site. This led to these charming, yet small batch breweries, to experience high sales, especially in restaurants.

Around a century ago, the United States had more than 2,000 breweries making many different styles and variations. However, by the 1980's, there were only around forty brewing companies that offered a brand of American Pilsner.

Today, there are some 500 microbreweries and brewpubs in the United States. Over the past few years, brewpubs have been popping up all over the place, even in bars that used to only carry the top beers.