California is the birthplace of the American craft brewing movement…
The history of craft beer across the nation began in California’s Bay Area…
1965: Recent Stanford graduate, Fritz Maytag, sat enjoying his favorite beer in a local pub. In a conversation with the bartender Maytag was told, “You better enjoy that Anchor. It may be your last.” Anchor Brewery was on the verge of going out of business. Maytag visited the brewery the next day and, for a modest investment, bought a controlling interest in the ailing business. Maytag was soon brewing authentic, artful beers and reintroducing lost styles. He proved that Americans were ready for a different kind of beer; beer with flavor, diversity and history. Anchor Brewery became the first “craft” brewery since prohibition and was the inspiration that sparked a revolution in brewing.
1977: Jack McAuliffe, who had developed a taste for British ales while stationed in Scotland, visited Anchor Brewery and decided to build his New Albion Brewery from scratch, using discarded dairy tanks and other scrapped industrial equipment. New Albion began brewing in 1977 in Sonoma, California, making it the first modern microbrewery in America.
1980: In Chico, “Home Brew Shop” owner, Ken Grossman, was inspired by both Anchor and New Albion. Grossman took welding lessons at the local community college so he could build his own brewery and equipment. He opened Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 1980, and their Sierra Nevada Pale Ale created a brand new beer style, the American-style Pale Ale.
1982: Legislation passed legalizing brewpubs in California. California was the second state in the country allowing breweries to sell beer and food onsite.
1983: Mendocino Brewing opened in Hopland, the first brewpub in the state and the second in America.
1989: California Small Brewers Association (now CCBA) is founded – the first state trade association in the nation representing craft breweries.
1990: Less than 70 breweries in operation in California.
2000: 200 breweries in operation in California.
2013: Governor signs “Growler Bill” at local brewery in Sacramento, Calif.
2014: Legislation is passed allowing craft breweries to sell craft beer at Farmers’ Markets.
2012: 54 countries entered almost 4,000 beers in 95 separate categories at the biennial World Beer Cup Competition. California’s craft brewers took home 55 medals, not just more than any other state, but any other nation, as well.
2017: California is home to more craft breweries than any state in the nation, with more than 900 breweries operating across the state of California. Nearly 92 percent of the state’s 39.5 million residents living within 10 miles of a brewery.
For more information about the growth and success of California craft beer, follow the CCBA blog.