History of Beer in the 19th Century: Timeline

The history of beer in the 19th century was one of innovation. The introduction of thermometers and hydrometers led to major improvements in the brewing process. The modern era of brewing began in the late 1800’s. It was with commercial refrigeration, automatic bottling, pasteurization, and railroad distribution.

 This is part of a series of timelines

History of Beer Before Christianity.

History of Beer in Early Christianity & Beyond.

Beer History in the 15th Century.  

History of Beer in the 16th Century.

History of Beer in the 17th Century.

Beer History in the 18th Century.

History of Beer in the 19th Century.

History of Beer in the 20th Century & Beyond.

 History of Beer in the 19th Century

Listed by Date

Australia first grew hops.

history of beer in the 19th century1810
• Munich established Oktoberfest as an official celebration.
• 132 breweries in the U.S. produced 185,000 barrels of beer. The population of the country was seven million.

The American Brewer and Maltster began publication.

The invention of the drum roaster enabled the creation of very dark, roasted malts. This contributed to the flavor of porters and stouts.

A steam engine was installed in a Philadelphia brewery. This was the first engine used in North American beer production.

The Yeungling Brewery began producing beer in Pottsville, PA. It is the oldest brewery in the U.S. It’s still owned by the Yuengling family.

• England passed the 1830 Beer Act. It allowed any ratepayer to buy a license to brew and sell beer.
• Belgium rebelled against the Netherlands. One of the reasons for the rebellion was the heavy taxes on beer.

The Guinness brewery was the largest in Ireland.

history of beer in the 19th centuryTrappists monks at St. Sixtus in Belgium began brewing Westvleteren beer. They did so to finance construction of a new monastery.

A Bavarian brewmaster created Pilsner in Pilsen, Bohemia (Czech Republic).

A brewery was started in Milwaukee that becomes Pabst Brewing.

Carlsberg began beer production in Denmark.

A brewery was established in Milwaukee that evolved into the Schlitz Brewery.

431 breweries in the U.S. produced 750,000 barrels of beer (31 gallons per barrel). The population was 23 million.

• A total of 1,269 breweries produced over one million barrels of beer in the U.S. The population was 31 million. New York and Pennsylvania produced 85% of the total.
• A U.S. patent was received for the first commercial refrigeration machine. This later proved to be very important in the production and distribution of beer.

Beer was taxed at one dollar per barrel to help finance the government during the U.S. Civil War.

In the Netherlands, Gerard Adriaan Heineken founded a brewery in Amsterdam.

After the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) beer replaced whiskey as the preferred beverage of working men.

3,700 breweries in the U.S. produced six million barrels of beer.

history of beer in the 19th century
John Ewald Siebel

• John Siebel opened a brewing school that later became the Siebel Institute of Technology.
• Publication of the monthly magazine The American Brewer began.

Adolphus Busch pioneered the use of double-walled railcars. They were supplied by a network of icehouses. This enabled Budweiser to become the first nation-wide beer brand.

• Anheuser adopted the “A and Eagle” trademark.
• The first brewery workers’ strike occurred in New York City.

•Beck’s Brewery was founded in Bremmen, Germany.
•A record number of 4,131 breweries produced nine million barrels of beer in the U.S.

The Schmitt brewery was built by an innkeeper for his restaurant in Singen in the German state of Thuringia.

history of beer in the 19th century
Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur published Studies on Fermentation showing the role of yeast in brewing. He developed the pasteurization process to stabilize beer. It was pasteurized 22 years before milk was pasteurized.

The Guinness brewery became the largest in the world

• A beer filter was developed by a German inventor.
Beer, Its History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage  was published.  It was by Frederick Salem. In it he argued that drinking beer was an effective temperance measure. His motto was “Beer against Whisky.”
• There were 2,830 breweries in the US.
• The U.S. Brewers Academy was formed.

The number of breweries declined in the U.S. Improved methods of production and distribution were the cause. It meant fewer breweries could produce and sell more beer. By 1910, the number of breweries droped to about 1,500.

The National Brewers’ and Distillers’ Association was formed in the U.S.

The first single-cell yeast culture was isolated in Denmark. Brewers were then able to select those strains that made the best beer. It also promoted brand consistency.

The first brewery began in Juneau, Alaska.

• The Master Brewers’ Association was formed.
• Brewery workers struck in New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee.


For the dedication of a fountain in Portland, Oregon, a brewer offered to pump his beer through it. The city declined the offer.

Pabst was the first U.S. brewer to sell over one million barrels in a year.

Philippine brewer San Miguel began making beer.

history of beer in the 19th century
A crown cap.

• The crown cap was invented in Baltimore.
• The wood pulp coaster was invented in Dresden, Germany.

South African Breweries (SAB) was formed.

• The beer barrel tax raised to $2.00 in the U.S.during the Spanish American War. As a result, beer sales declined.
• The Royal Brewery was the first to operate in Hawaii.



The history of beer in the 19th century saw many advances in brewing techniques. There would be even more advances during the next century. Let’s have a look at the History of Beer in the 20th Century & Beyond.


Books on the History of Beer in the 19th Century.

Burnett, J. Liquid Pleasures: a Social History of Drinks in Modern Britain. (Includes history of beer in the 19th century.)

Wilson, R., and Gourvish, T. The Dynamics of the Modern Brewing Industry Since 1800.


Know of any items that should be added to the history of beer in the 19th century? If so, please contact hansondj [at sign] potsdam [dot] edu/. And thank you for your help!