Special Report

America's Oldest Beers

5. Hamm’s
> Year introduced: 1865
> State of origin: Minnesota
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company

One of the oldest beers in America, Hamm’s celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2015. Hamm’s was first brewed in St. Paul, Minnesota when Theodore Hamm opened a brewery in 1865. The operation remained family owned until 1968, surviving prohibition by producing soft drinks, syrups, and other food products.

While the Hamm’s brand has changed hands many times in the past several decades, Hamm’s is now owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company. In addition to the original brew, Molson Coors also produces Hamm’s Light.

4. Stroh’s
> Year introduced: 1850
> State of origin: Michigan
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Immigrating the United States from Germany in 1849 and taking with him a family beer recipe, Bernhard Stroh opened a Lion’s Head Brewery in Detroit, Michigan in 1850. The brewery’s flagship beer still bears the founder’s family name. Though it was acquired by the Pabst Brewing Company in 1999, Stroh’s beer still bears its founder’s name. Today, it is one of several formerly independent brews now under the Pabst umbrella.

Stroh’s was the third largest brewer in the United States in 1984. The brand has since lost significant market share since. Stroh’s only shipped 60,000 barrels in 2016. In contrast, Yuengling, the oldest beer on this list, shipped 2.2 million barrels that same year.

3. Schlitz
> Year introduced: 1849
> State of origin: Wisconsin
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Schlitz was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1849, eventually gaining both national and international appeal. By 1902, it became the largest brewery worldwide. Schlitz was responsible for several innovations in the beer industry that drinkers today take for granted, including the brown bottle in 1911 and the 16 oz. “tall boy” can in 1956.

Schlitz is one of several Midwest-based beer brands resurrected by Pabst Brewing Company. Pabst purchased Schlitz in 1999 as part of the same transaction that involved the acquisitions of Stroh’s, another brand on this list.

Source: oldmilwaukee.com

2. Old Milwaukee
> Year introduced: 1849
> State of origin: Wisconsin
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

The aptly named Old Milwaukee was first brewed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin nearly 170 years ago. Formerly owned by the Schlitz Brewing Company, the Old Milwaukee brand was bought by Stroh’s and which was then acquired by the Pabst Brewing Company.

Old Milwaukee Light, a low-calorie version of the classic brew, was introduced in 1980. The combined sales of Old Milwaukee, Old Milwaukee Light, and Old Milwaukee N.A. totalled just over half a million barrels in 2016. In comparison, 21 American beer brands shipped over a million barrels that same year.

1. Yuengling Lager
> Year introduced: 1829
> State of origin: Pennsylvania
> Parent company: D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc.

America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling, was founded by D.G. Yuengling & Son in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1829, two decades before the next oldest widely-available beer that is still sold today. Originally called Eagle Brewery, the name was changed to Yuengling & Son in 1873. During Prohibition, Yuengling sold dairy products and near-beer to remain profitable.

Nearly 190 years after the brewery was founded, Yuengling is still a relatively popular beer today. In 2016, the brewery shipped 2.2 million barrels within the United States, accounting for about one in every 100 beers sold in the U.S. market.