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A beer niche is a niche is a niche

The United States was not exactly a beer drinking nation in 1810. According to American Breweries II per capita consumption amounted to less than one gallon per man, woman and child.

The number grew to about 20 gallons shortly before Prohibition and amounts to 21-plus gallons today. Or roughly 81.6 liters, compared to 157 liters for the Czechs (Bavarians drink about the same amount).

It depends a little bit on how you define craft beer, but if we throw Blue Moon White into the mix then per capita consumption of craft beer amounts to about one gallon.

Two hundred years later.



4 Responses to A beer niche is a niche is a niche

  1. Travis December 17, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    Well then, it looks like we have a lot of work ahead of us!

  2. Alan December 17, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    What was the per capita consumption of cider, Stan? I know the powers of anti-booze in the 1800s and 1900s destroyed the upstate NY apple orchards which, me finks, were largely for the cider trade. Can’t we go all CAMRA and lump real table cider in with craft beer?

    Also, do those numbers include home brewing? During Ontario’s half-hearted prohibition there was absolutely ga-zoinks of home brewing permits issued and I would suspect in the early 1800s people would just still be brewing. I have had the happy experience of seeing the file with the mid-1800s rural tavern licenses for Kingston and there was no lack of beer flowing here. City Hall itself had 3 taverns in it.

  3. Stan Hieronymus December 17, 2009 at 6:56 am #

    I don’t know about cider, but “History of the Brewing Industry” notes that per capita consumption of whiskey fell from 2.55 gallons in 1863 (when per capita beer had reached 2.75 – so about the same) to 1.4 gallons. I believe Maureen Ogle has more data in “Ambitious Brew.”

    A fair point about homebrewing, but why screw up my (unusually) short little analogy ;>)

  4. Alan December 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    I am not messing with you, Stan. You got me all curious – that’s all.

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