The 10 Oldest Breweries in the USA
In this post, I’ll look at the top 10 Oldest Breweries in the USA – oldest to newest – as well as look at various data points to see if there is a common trend between them.
Top Ten Oldest Breweries in the USA:
- Yuengling (1829) Pottsville, PA
- F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company (1842) New York, NY
- Pabst Brewing Company (1844) Milwaukee, WI
- Minhas Craft Brewery (1845) Monroe, WI
- Anheuser-Busch (1852) St. Louis, MO
- Miller Brewing Company (1855) Milwaukee, WI
- Stevens Point Brewery (1857) Stevens Point, WI
- August Schell Brewing Company (1860) New Ulm, MN
- Frankenmuth Brewery (1862) Frankenmuth, MI
- Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (1867) Chippewa Falls, WI
Ten Oldest Breweries in the USA
You can see that the majority of the old breweries in the USA are located in either Wisconsin or Minnesota.
German immigration to Wisconsin occurred in three waves. The first, from 1845 to 1860, was primarily made up of settlers from the southwestern German states, such as Bavaria and Wurtenburg, who were compelled to leave Europe by crop failures and agricultural consolidation. – University of Wisconsin – Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (Source)
A lot of these Bavarian region immigrants moved into the northern United States. Having such an affect in Wisconsin, that beer, bratwurst and sauerkraut are common everywhere. You can see that the map below illustrates that the west wasn’t really even settled in 1850s – the time when most of the oldest breweries in the USA opened their doors.
Digging even further into ethnic German Migration in the USA, I stumbled upon a fantastic map showing German National Density in 1900.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time of day to run the hard statistical numbers to see if this data is statistically significant in any way. I would be willing to make a bet that due to the large number of German Nationals in these regions, it caused a large increase in these craft breweries. More evidence is just in the names of the ten listed oldest breweries in the USA. Names like Yuengling, Schaefer, and Pabst (the 3 oldest) are all of German origin.
Interested in reading more about Leinenkugel, checkout my brewery tour & brief history from my November of 2015 tour.