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Happy American Beer Day!

October 27, 2011

That’s right, October 27 is American Beer Day!

While we like to celebrate the craft of brewing beer every single day, we think it’s important to recognize the long history that brewing beer has had in the United States. So pick up a bottle of your favorite Harpoon beer and read on to learn a little bit about the rich history that beer has had in America.

Brewing in America is believed to have started even before Europeans came to shore –with many recent findings saying that Native Americans may have brewed beer using corn, birch sap and water. However there is debate around this, as no yeast was added and many historians don’t know whether the liquid fermented on purpose or just as a result of wild yeast.

Once the Europeans started making their home in the New World though, a brewing tradition really started to take off. The earliest written recipe for a beer brewed in  America is dated to 1587, and the first commercial brewery in the New World was founded in 1632 – the Dutch West India Company in Lower Manhattan.

English ales were extremely popular until the 19th century, when German lagers started popping up in various cities. There were plenty of different styles of beer that were making their way across the country, thanks to people from around Europe moving over to the United States.

Then the United States hit the brewing “Dark Ages”… aka. The Prohibition.

On January 16, 1919 the 18th Amendment was enacted, and the production, sale and transportation of any alcoholic beverage were illegal.  Virtually every brewery that was open in the United States at that time was forced to shut their door (except for the largest, which continued to make other beverages). It wasn’t until December 1933 that the 22nd Amendment repealed the Prohibition era and the beer industry slowly began to re-emerge.

However,  Jimmy Carter was a game changer in 1978 when he legalized home brewing. This lead to the birth of many craft breweries in the 1980s… including… Harpoon Brewery! This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary, and we couldn’t be happier to be here.

Today, there are over 1,700 active breweries in the United States and we have you to thank for supporting your local craft breweries and allowing us to make beer that you and I both like.

So head out tonight and have a pint of your favorite local American beer, in order to celebrate a rich history and an even better future!


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