A Selected Chronology of Early Craft/Micro Brewers in the United States and Canada
Fritz Maytag buys San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co., brews a genuine California steam beer.
New Albion, Sonoma, CA (1976-83)
Prinz Brau, Anchorage, AK (1976-1979) was small (10,000 bbl capacity), but not strictly a craft brewer. Prinz Brau was the product of German brewery Oetker’s attempt to brew German beer under the Reinheitsgebot in the U.S. The beer wasn’t particularly distinctive, and the brewery soon failed.
California Steam Beer Brewing Co., San Rafael, CA (1979-81)
DeBakker, Novato, CA (1979-81)
Placer, Auburn, CA (1979-81?), may never have brewed beer.
Sierra Nevada, Chico, CA (1980-present, with a new plant in 1988)
Boulder Beer Co., Longmont, CO (1979-present, with a new plant 1983), the first micro east of California
River City, Sacramento, CA (1980-84)
Cartwright Brewing Co., Portland, OR (1980-81), the first micro north of California
Thousand Oaks Brewing Co., Berkeley, CA (1981-?)
William S. Newman Brewing Co., Albany, NY (1981-90?), first East Coast micro, survived for many years contract brewing
Yakima Brewing & Malting Co., Yakima, WA (1982-2002)
Redhook Ale Brewery, Seattle, WA (1982-present, with a new plant in 1990)
Horseshoe Bay Brewery, Horseshoe Bay, BC (1982-1999), first Canadian micro and first Canadian brewpub
Our records indicate that, by 1982, there were 39 brewing companies operating 74 plants, including 15 micros.
Fred Eckhardt lives, writes about and drinks beer in Portland, OR. He is the author of The Essentials of Beer Style and Saké.