Special Report

America's Oldest Beers

Source: twitter.com/BallantineIPA

10. Ballantine IPA
> Year introduced: 1878
> State of origin: New Jersey
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

The India pale ale, or IPA, style beer was initially developed by British brewers. Because British colonies in India were too warm for brewing beer, English brewers had to ship beer across the Atlantic to satiate demand in India. To ensure the beer did not spoil along the voyage, brewers increased alcohol levels and added more hops — and the IPA was born.

While IPAs are a popular choice among beer drinkers today, an IPA is also one of America’s oldest beers. The Ballantine Brewing Company, based in Newark, New Jersey first brewed the Ballantine IPA in 1878. The beer was out of production for several decades, but in 2014, Pabst Brewing Company, which markets several of the old brands on this list, revived the historic IPA.

Source: Houston Stebbins

9. Genesee
> Year introduced: 1878
> State of origin: New York
> Parent company: Genesee Brewing Company

Though it was not the brewery to open in Rochester, New York, the Rau & Reisky Brewery opened for business in 1857. Some 21 years later, entrepreneur Mathius Kondolf bought the operation and renamed it Genesee Brewery. Despite being closed for more than a decade during prohibition, the brewery invested $1.3 million into operations upon the ratification of the 21st Amendment.

Now available in a majority of states, Genesee shipped 400,000 barrels domestically last year. In addition to the original Genesee beer, the brewery introduced its popular Cream Ale in 1960 and Genesee Light in 1978.

Source: budweiser.com

8. Budweiser
> Year introduced: 1876
> State of origin: Missouri
> Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV

Created in 1876, Budweiser quickly established itself as a national brand through innovative production and distribution methods, such as pasteurization and refrigerated rail cars. With its expansive railroad network, Anheuser-Busch was able to sell Budweiser outside of St. Louis, making it a national success. Today, “The King of Beers” is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which was formed after Belgian brewer InBev agreed to acquire the American beer titan for $52 billion in 2008.

As of 2016, Budweiser was the third most popular American beer, with 14.4 million barrels sold in the United States. While Coors Light was the second most popular, Americans bought 35.2 million barrels of Budweiser’s low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light.

Source: walmart.com

7. Coors Banquet
> Year introduced: 1873
> State of origin: Colorado
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company

Golden, Colorado-based Coors began selling its flagship lager in 1873. According to the MillerCoors website, the beer became a favorite of miners in the area. After prohibition, Coors began calling its beer “The Banquet Beer” in honor of the feasts area workers would have after leaving the mines with Coors beer.

Coors Banquet’s low-calorie version, Coors Light, is the second best selling beer in America. With 17.1 million barrels shipped last year, Coors Light had a 7.9% market share. Only 1.7 million barrels of Coors Banquet were shipped in the United States in 2016, amounting to less than 1% of U.S. market share.

6. Leinenkugel’s Original
> Year introduced: 1867
> State of origin: Wisconsin
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company

Leinenkugel, named after its founder, German immigrant Jacob Leinenkugel, was first brewed in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The brand’s website claims the brew was originally intended to “quench the thirst of over 2,500 lumberjacks.” Chippewa Falls was a logging town at the time.
In 1988, Miller Brewing Company bought Leinenkugel.

Today, Leinenkugel’s brewer, Molson Coors, produces a wide variety of flavors — over 20 — off the old brew. In addition to Leinenkugel’s Original, the brewer produces Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter, Leinenkugel’s Harvest Patch Shandy, and Leinenkugel’s BeerGarten Tart.