Domestically-brewed craft beers continue to soar in popularity. While overall U.S. beer volume sales declined by 1.0% in 2017, craft beer sales surged at a rate of 5.0% by volume. Retail dollar sales of craft brews accounted for nearly one-quarter of the $111.4 billion beer market in 2017. Despite the relatively recent spike in interest for craft beer, brewing is not by any means a new phenomena in the United States.
24/7 Wall St. identified the 30 oldest beers in America by reviewing all of the domestically-made beers owned by the three largest beer companies: Molson Coors Brewing Company, Pabst Brewing Company, and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV. We also reviewed a handful of microbreweries that either predate the 20th century or started in its early years.
All but eight of the beers on this list are owned by the the big three beer companies in the country: Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Pabst Brewing Company, Molson Coors Brewing Company. In fact, the two oldest beers on this list were produced by renowned craft brewery Yuengling in 1829. The youngest of our 30 oldest beers was produced by Lion Brewery, which was founded in 1905.
Twenty-seven beer brands on this list were introduced in the 19th century, and one way or another, survived the Prohibition era. Some beer brands on this list, like Narragansett, were able to remain open through legal loopholes. Others, such as Lone Star, were forced to discontinue operations, and did not return until after Prohibition’s repeal.
All of the beers featured on this list are the originals brewed by their respective breweries and are still in production today. The one exception is Schell’s Brewery, which was founded in 1860 and does not make the same brew that it did over 150 years ago. At the time, the brewery produced Schell’s Lager, an all malt-base beer that is similar to what is produced today but not the same. However, we deemed it close enough to deserve a spot on this list.
To identify the oldest beer brands in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S.’s top selling beers by shipment volume. In addition to these mainstream brands, we consulted the portfolios of the most well known U.S. brewing companies. The year a beer brand was introduced came from corporate websites. Shipment volumes were provided by industry observer Beer Marketer’s Insights, and are for 2016.