Interactive American Craft Beer Timeline

by Billy Broas

When I study history my eyes glaze over when reading dates. Just reading a date as a number on a page does nothing for me. The two things that are missing are context and visuals. Context tells the larger story of the event: “What else was happening? Was is before this? Was it after that?” Visuals are important because I’m a visual learner. Turning a boring number on a page into something I can see brings it to life.

When I was reading The Audacity of Hops (great book) the familiar glazing-over feeling came back. The story of craft beer in America is a great one. The characters, the tales, the beers. It’s a story every beer drinker should learn.

While reading the book I got the idea to create this interactive American craft beer timeline:

American Craft Beer Timeline

Click to open the timeline in a new page.


Credit goes to the Timeline library for the tools to make this chart. I’m learning JavaScript, so this was a fun way to tinker around and combine that training with beer stuff.

Hopefully others find this beer timeline as useful as I have. For example, look at all the activity in 1979: Sierra Nevada opens, the first National Homebrew Conference is held, All About Beer magazine debuts, and homebrewing is legalized. Also notice “the shakeout” between 1996 and 2000 when hundreds of breweries closed.

There’s not a ton on the beer timeline at the moment, but it’s a work in progress. How much I add to it really depends on you guys and the interest level in developing it.

Do you have any events you think should be on the timeline? If so, leave a comment with the event and the date. Try to keep it to major events at first: Important brewery openings, significant legislation, the founding of BillyBrew – that sort of thing.

I’d love to fill this thing, so let me know whatcha got!

billybrew-hba-banner

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Curt October 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

1995 John Palmer writes How to Brew and publishes it to the web.

Just a thought!

Reply

Billy Broas October 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

Great idea – I’m adding it.

Reply

Matthew Arata October 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

At the very least I think you need to have some or all of the current largest craft brewers founding dates. (Boston Beer Co, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Deschutes, Lagunitas, Bells, Stone, etc…) And then perhaps some of the top 2 or 3 largest takeovers (Goose? Redhook/Widmer?)

Reply

Billy Broas October 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

Boston Beer Company and Sierra Nevada are already on there. The others are good suggestions too. The next two breweries I was going to add were Dogfish and Brooklyn Brewery.

Reply

Alex Winkler October 15, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Great work Billy, I’m a little shocked that HomeBrewing just became legal in all 50 states this year! Had no idea.. any idea which state(s) was lagging behind? Fun zoom feature btw.

Reply

Billy Broas October 23, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Alabama and Mississippi were the last ones to legalize it. I was skeptical but they came through in the end. Glad you like the post.

Reply

Erick November 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm

You probably should memorialize the beginning of the AHA in 1978 and opening of Boulder Beer Co in 1979. Boulder Beer had a huge impact on the craft beer movement.

Reply

Billy Broas November 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Good ideas. I will get them up there.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: