Special Report

America’s 30 Oldest Beers

Source: Courtesy of Lion Brewery

30. Lionshead Pilsner
> Year introduced: 1905
> State of origin: Pennsylvania
> Parent company: Lion Brewery

Started in 1905 as the Luzerne County Brewing Company, the name was changed to Lion Brewery just four years after the brewery’s inception. Today, it is the second largest brewery in Pennsylvania and the 15th largest American-owned brewery, distributing its beers throughout the Northeast. Lion Brewery reports selling more than 750,000 cases of its pilsner every year.

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

29. Miller High Life
> Year introduced: 1903
> State of origin: Wisconsin
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company

Miller High Life may be pegged as the champagne of beers for its light color and fizzy taste, but for years the relatively inexpensive brew has attracted people from all different socioeconomic backgrounds.The bottled-beer was not always cheap, though. Upon its inception in 1903 by Frederick Miller of Milwaukee, the pilsner was considered more of a luxury than an ordinary brew.

Though High Life currently ranks among the most popular beers in the country, it appears to be losing favor among beer drinkers. Shipments dropped 11.8% from 2018 to 2019, down to 3.0 million barrels.

28. Heileman’s Old Style
> Year introduced: 1902
> State of origin: Wisconsin
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Called Golden Leaf Lager in the 1890s, the name was changed to Heileman’s Old Style before hitting the market in 1902. Old Style was first brewed in La Crosse, Wisconsin, but as the beer’s popularity surged, it became one of Chicago’s most iconic brews, as if it had been created in-state. By 1950, Old Style was a major sponsor of the Chicago Cubs. The brew’s legend lives on, as it is still served at Wrigley Field today.

In 2016, Old Style resumed production in the beer’s hometown of La Crosse at the original City Brewery to brew its newest addition, Oktoberfest.

27. Primo
> Year introduced: 1897
> State of origin: Hawaii
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

The Honolulu Brewing & Malting Company founded Primo just before the beginning of the 20th century. Since its inception, Primo has halted production of the lager several times. Aside from stopping production during the 13 years of Prohibition, the brewing of Primo stopped for a decade in 1997. Pabst Brewing Co. bought the Primo brand in 1999 and resumed production in 2007, after Pabst partnered with Kaua’i’s Keoki Brewing Co. to bring the classic drink back.

26. Olympia Beer
> Year introduced: 1896
> State of origin: Washington
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Just seven years after Washington became a state, Olympia beer was born — which makes it one of the country’s oldest beers still sold today. Brewmaster Leopold Schmidt founded Olympia Brewing Co., then Capital Brewing Company, in 1896 in an area with several natural artesian wells. The name changed to Olympia Brewing Co. in 1902, the same year the slogan “It’s the Water” was adopted. Pabst Brewing Company bought the brand in 1983 and the rest is history.