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America's beer landscape began to change by the late-1970s. The traditions and styles brought over by immigrants from all over the world were disappearing. Only light lager appeared on shelves and in bars and imports were not a significant player in the marketplace. Highly effective marketing campaigns had changed America's drinking preference to light-adjunct lager. Low calorie light lagers soon began driving and shaping the growth and nature of the American beer industry, even to present day.

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By the end of the decade the brewing industry had consolidated to only 44 brewing companies. Industry experts predicted that soon there would only be 5 brewing companies in the United States. At the same time as the American brewing landscape was shrinking in taste and size a grassroots homebrewing culture emerged. The homebrewing hobby began to thrive because the only way a person in the United States could experience the brewing traditions and styles of other countries was to make the beer themselves.

In 1976 what some call the true renaissance of American craft brewing emerged with the founding of The New Albion Brewery in Sonoma, California by a homebrew enthusiast. While this brewery went out of business after about 6 years, there were hundreds of homebrewers that were inspired and followed in their footsteps and started breweries in the early-1980s.

The 1980s marked the decade of the microbrewing pioneers. In a time when industry experts flat out refused to recognize their existence as anything serious, the pioneering companies emerged with their passion and a vision, serving their local communities a taste of full flavored brews and old world European traditions; all with what was to become a uniquely American character. Through extraordinarily difficult market conditions, the microbreweries and brewpubs of the 1980s struggled to establish the foundation for what was to become the proliferation of craft beer in America.

Courtesy of Brewers Association

Abita Brewing CompanyAbita Springs, Louisiana USA
Bell's BreweryKalamazoo, Michigan USA
Brooklyn BreweryBrooklyn, New York USA
Dogfish HeadMilton, Delaware USA
Flying Dog BreweryFrederick, Maryland USA
Goose Island Beer CompanyChicago, Illinois USA
Great Lakes Brewing CompanyCleveland, Ohio USA
Jacob Leinenkugel's Brewing CompanyChippewa Falls, Wisconsin USA
Mount Carmel Brewing CompanyCincinnati, Ohio USA
New Belgium BrewingFort Collins, Colorado USA
Rogue AlesNewport, Oregon USA
75th Street BreweryKansas City, Missouri USA
Sierra Nevada Brewing CompanyChico, California USA
Victory Brewing CompanyDownington, Pennsylvania USA
YuenglingPottsville, Pennsylvania USA