“Brewing since 1907.”
For an industry that spends millions to emphasize the freshness of its product, there’s still some attention to be paid to dusty, sepia-shaded history.
A mega-corporation with no regard for heritage? Big surprise.
“Made in San Francisco since 1896.”
It takes some looking, but if you shuffle through the cooler at your local beer store you’ll find labels that proudly boast of traditions that are seriously old.
“Brewing excellence since 1857”
Not just old as in “your father’s beer.”
“Established in Milwaukee 1844.”
We’re talking old enough to be Abe Lincoln’s father’s beer.
Somehow they’ve survived, through world wars and epidemics how would epidemics affect beer companies?and family rivalries and corporate takeovers and that loathsome low-carb fad. And they continue to thrive, even in an era of shortened attention spans and the newfangled desire for the next newest thing.
These are America’s pre-Prohibition breweries, the ones that were founded before passage of the 18th Amendment and then somehow emerged when we came back to our senses.
You can call them retro or old-fashioned. A decade ago, beer historian Greg Kitsock labeled them as heirloom breweries, a bit of an inaccuracy because most of the survivors have been sold and re-sold so many times, they’re hardly family treasures. More recently, Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian began calling them heritage breweries, another description that implies inheritance.
Maybe that’s the point.