I have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on two events in the late 1970s that helped loose the American craft beer revolution (though few, if anyone, realized it at the time). Here’s the start:
Today there are more than 2,300 breweries in the United States—our beer production is second only to China—but it wasn’t long ago that American beer was an international punchline. Embodied by yellowy lagers in aluminum cans, nearly all domestic beer was made by a handful of breweries like Miller and Anheuser-Busch. As recently as 35 years ago, there were fewer than 50 breweries in the whole country, and the fastest-growing type of American beer was light, which Miller introduced in 1975.
The story of the U.S. ascent to the top tier of world beer began in the late 1970s, when brewing was liberated from government taxation and regulation that had held it back since Prohibition.
In 1976, Henry King, a gregarious World War II hero whose favorite drink was a whiskey-based Rob Roy, trained the attention of his U.S. Brewers Association, the industry’s biggest trade group, on Congress. The brewing industry had been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Washington to lower excise taxes on beer produced by smaller brewers.
The rest can be found here, though it’s behind a paywall. I’ve also written about craft beer and taxes before.
· Lower Taxes Tapped a Beer Revolution [WSJ]
· The Small BREW Act’s Big Shadow [TomAcitelli.com]