Beer is one of the earliest alcohols in history, originating over seven thousand years ago in the Middle Eastern region that occupies present-day Iran. It became a popular beverage in Ancient Egypt and other noteworthy empires where barley and wheat were domesticated crops.
Fast-forward several thousand years later, and the earliest settlers bring beer brewing to American soils. Some of the first breweries in America have become household brands sold in grocery stores and bars.
I’ve compiled a list of the oldest breweries in America for you to explore below.
Some of these breweries are almost as old as the United States itself!
420 Mahantongo St, Pottsville, PA 17901
Opening in 1829 in Pennsylvania, Yuengling is the oldest brewery in America and a nationally registered historical site.
Founded by David G. Yuengling, Yuengling Brewery still produces the original recipes for ale and porter.
Yuengling’s son inherited the company upon his father’s death and ran the brewery until 1899, when his son Frank Yuengling took over as owner.
Yuengling has now seen six generations of family ownership. The 5th generation Yuengling son only had daughters, and they are now the 6th generation owners.
Yuengling produces ten year-round brews, encompassing lagers, porters, and pilsners.
They offer tours and tastings at the Pottsville brewery. I was lucky enough to catch their seasonal Hershey Chocolate Porter during my recent tour.
610 Pestalozzi, St. Louis, MO 63118
An iconic collaboration between German immigrant Adolphus Busch and his father-in-law and successful businessman Eberhard Anheuser, Anheuser-Busch Brewery began producing German-style lagers in the 1850s in St. Louis, Missouri.
By 1880, the brewery was producing one million barrels of beer.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery created some of America’s top-selling beer brands, including:
- Michelob Ultra
- Stella Artois
- Natural Light
- Bud light
The list goes on and on. Furthermore, Anheuser-Busch has 12 breweries throughout the U.S.
Its flagship St. Louis brewery has preserved the stunning 19th-century warehouse building with gorgeous stained-glass windows, multi-story ceilings, and artifacts from its more than 160-year history. They’ve been offering tours since the 1890s.
Minhas Craft Brewery
1208 14th Ave, Monroe, WI 53566, United States
Not only is Wisconsin the oldest and most prolific cheese producer in the country, but it’s also home to the oldest breweries in the Midwest.
Originating as Monroe Brewery in 1845, Minhas Craft Brewery has seen ownership changes every 60 years.
Each owner contributed a unique tradition and method from their respective home countries, starting with Switzerland and encompassing France, Britain, Germany, and Denmark.
The Minhas Craft Brewery produces an eclectic line of craft beers and has helped preserve historic recipes from neighboring breweries that closed in the 70s and 80s.
Today, Minhas Craft Brewery is under local Wisconsin ownership by the Weinstein family, who continues to grow and evolve the brewery’s products and distribution.
Their products include malt beers, premium beers, distilled liquor, and craft sodas.
502 14th St, Golden, CO 80401, United States
Colorado’s oldest brewery, Coors Brewery opened in 1873 under the leadership of German and Prussian immigrants Adolph Coors and Jacob Schueler.
They bought a Pilsner recipe from a Czech associate that launched the brewery’s successful and enduring business.
The Coors brewery survived the prohibition era by using the malt from their beer to make malted milk.
Coors was also a pioneering company for beer canning, being the first to use aluminum beer cans and the inventor of the pull-tab can.
Today, they use water, hops, and barley sourced from Colorado’s highlands to make the brands we all know today:
- Coors Light
- Blue Moon
Pabst Brewing Company
917 W Juneau Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States
Pabst Blue Ribbon has garnered a cult following and has made iconic appearances in films like Blue Velvet. Pabst Brewery was founded by German immigrant Jacob Best in 1844.
Best passed the brewery to his son Phillip Best and son-in-law Frederick Pabst who transformed the local brewery into the nation’s largest beer producer from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.
The Pabst Brewery closed in 1996, purchased by owners who maintained the historic property and opened it up to the public as a historical site in 2001.
The stunning 19th-century stone and brick building has a coffee shop, gift shop, and various halls to transport visitors back in time.
425 S Main St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734, United States
Frankenmuth Brewery is the country’s oldest microbrewery and Michigan’s first craft brewery which opened in 1862.
Founders John Matthias Falliers and his cousins William Knaust and Martin Heubisch built the brewery near the family farm, producing traditional lagers and ales for the surrounding community.
Today, the brewery continues to deliver award-winning craft brews using the founder’s German brewing traditions.
There’s now a taproom and full restaurant onsite. They also bottle their beers, using a label you’ll distinguish by their century-old logo of a dachshund. The taproom has over 20 beers on tap.
Whether you like sweet, malted beers or bitter hoppy beer, you can get the finest quality brews fresh from the onsite microbrewery to accompany a delicious meal of American gastropub fare.
Miller Brewing Company
4251 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53208, United States
Founded by Frederick Miller in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1855, Miller Brewing Company is one of the most prolific beer producers in the nation, with over 30 brands, including:
- Miller High Life
- Miller Lite
- Mickeys Malt Liquor
- Olde English
- Miller 64
Miller, a German immigrant, brought a German yeast and his life savings with him from the old country with dreams of launching his brewery in what has now become the famous Miller Valley.
Miller Valley’s massive grounds house the 1855 brewery as well as a visitor center, turn-of-the-century Bavarian Inn, and Bier Garden.
I went for a fun tour of the brewery and stayed for a flight of beers in their lovely beer garden. It’s always Miller time in the Miller Valley.
Stevens Point Brewery
2617 Water St, Stevens Point, WI 54481, United States
Another Wisconsin brewery, the Stevens Pointe Brewery, opened in 1857 under the leadership of owners Frank Wahle and George Ruder, who proudly served Union soldiers beer during the Civil War.
The Brewery switched to soda and non-alcoholic beer during prohibition and was one of the only Wisconsin breweries to survive the Great Depression.
Stevens Point Brewery, unlike its historic counterparts, remained an almost exclusively local brewery.
The Brewery was both locally owned by longstanding former brewers and employees, and it only produced beer for the state of Wisconsin until the 1990s.
I can enjoy a bottle of Oktoberfest while my kids can delight in Stevens Point root beers and cream soda.