Special Report

America’s 30 Oldest Beers

20. Lone Star
> Year introduced: 1884
> State of origin: Texas
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

Lone Star beer was first brewed in San Antonio, Texas, in 1884. With sales peaking at 65,000 barrels a year, Lone Star was popular until the start of Prohibition in 1920, when the brewery was forced to close its doors. The brand did not return until 1940, when the Muehlebach Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri, rebranded itself as Lone Star and began brewing the beer again in San Antonio, Texas. Though the brewery closed in 1996 after more than half a century, Pabst Brewing Company bought the label in 1999 and continues to brew the beer in the Lone Star State.

19. Rainier
> Year introduced: 1883
> State of origin: Washington
> Parent company: Pabst Brewing Company

To some, Rainier might not sound like the name of a beer that’s brewed domestically. Andrew Hemrich, the son of a German immigrant, teamed up with John Kopp to produce Rainier beer, though they didn’t start the brewery until a few years after, in 1883. The Seattle-based brewery, which went through several name changes — The Bayview Brewery, Sweeney’s Brewery, and then Seattle’s Brewing and Malting Company — reopened after the Prohibition era as Rainier Brewing Company in San Francisco.

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

Though it was not the first brewery to open in Rochester, New York, the Rau & Reisky Brewery opened for business over 150 years ago, 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a decade during Prohibition, the brewery invested $1.3 million into operations anticipating the ban on alcohol would be repealed soon.

In addition to the original Genesee beer, the brewery introduced its popular Cream Ale in 1960 and Genesee Light in 1978.

Source: twitter.com/BallantineIPA

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

Ballantine IPA was first brewed in 1878 in Newark, New Jersey, at Ballantine Brewing Co. The legendary beer survived until the 1970s, when a wave of big-brand lagers overwhelmed the market. Pabst Brewing Company, which owns many iconic beer brands, bought Ballantine in 1985. After several years of dormancy, Pabst made moves in 2014 to resurrect the beer in an attempt to appeal to the increasing number of beer drinkers who opt for India Pale Ales.

Source: pjohnson1 / Getty Images

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

Anheuser-Busch created Budweiser in 1876 was able to quickly establish it as a national brand through innovative production and distribution methods, such as pasteurization and refrigerated rail cars. With its extensive 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 acquired the American beer titan for $52 billion in 2008.

In 2019, Budweiser was the fourth most popular American beer, with 10.6 million barrels sold in the United States. While Coors Light and Miller Lite topped Budweiser and were second and third most popular beers, respectively, Budweiser’s low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, was the most popular beer among Americans, shipping 27.2 million barrels.