FOOD: Transforming the American Table

Brewing a Revolution

Courtesy of National Museum of American History, Archives Center

The history of brewing in the United States is a story of immigration, urban change, technological innovation, and evolving consumer tastes.

During our nation’s early years, Americans drank ales, mostly brewed by women and enslaved people at home. The arrival of European professional brewers—nearly all men—in the 1800s transformed brewing into a profitable industry and converted the United States into a nation of lager lovers. Then in 1920, Prohibition banned the production of intoxicating beverages. But the story of American beer was far from over.