The history of craft brewing made it to America’s landscape by the late 1970s. The traditions and styles brought over by immigrants from all over the world were disappearing. Only light beer appeared on shelves and in bars in Wood Dale and imported beer was not a significant player in the marketplace. By the end of the decade, the beer industry had consolidated to only 44 brewing companies. Industry experts predicted that soon there would only be five brewing companies in the United States. At the same time the American brewing landscape was shrinking, a grassroots homebrewing culture emerged. These homebrewing roots gave birth to what we now call the craft brewing industry. Increased home brewing activity inspired beer enthusiasts to start their own small brewing companies. Their intent was always to reintroduce the public to more flavor and to the traditions of beer.
The quality of beer from these small breweries improved over the years enabling a wider distribution and establishing popularity and choice. Up until the early 1980s the popular image of beer in America was that of a mass produced commodity with little or no character, tradition or culture. Momentum began to pick up for the microbrewing phenomenon in the early to mid 1990s with growth increasing. Craft brewers have succeeded in establishing high levels of quality, consistency and innovation expanding the minds of the beer consumers and creating the most diverse brewing culture in the world. A majority of Americans live within ten miles of a brewery. There has never been a better time or place to drink beer than in the United States right now.