The History of Beer Brewing in America

America’s beer brewing history has some deep roots. Beer brewing is just about as American as any other staple — baseball and apple pie included. In today’s post, Lost Signal Brewing explains the history of beer in the USA.

America’s rich beer brewing history is in no small part thanks to German, Irish, Dutch and English immigrants, among a few others, who brought their techniques on beer crafting with them.

A Snapshot Timeline

1607 the first shipment of beer from England arrived at the Virginia Colonies

1612 the first new brewery in New Amsterdam was founded

1632 the first commercial brewery was made in Lower Manhattan

1810 America’s 140 breweries began producing over 180,000 barrels of beer

1840 - 1850 Brewing technologies increased and expanded

1873 Brewing peaks at 1,173 brewing facilities

1879 Germans introduce lagers on wide scale

1920 - 1933 Prohibition years create a dark age of brewing

17th Century

Beer in the colonies was around 3-4% ABV — a lighter option from rum, whiskey or wine. Children drank in small amounts. As the revolutionary War loomed, beer was harder to get from the English. Americans, staunch patriots and some Founding Fathers, began brewing their own.

Mid 1800’s

The industrial revolution was gaining momentum. Beer drinking gained popularity among workers. Fermenting technology allowed brewers to craft beers in hot summers and preserve them for more extended periods of time.

A change from the usual English Ale, American’s started producing Lager. It had already been a popular brew in Germany and other European countries. By 1900, Lager outsold Ale by a significant margin.

19th Century Ozarks Craft Beer

The Ozarks also have a rich brewing history. But it began with a massive influx of German immigrants moving to St. Louis, establishing beer gardens and commercial lager production facilities, like Anheuser-Busch. By the mid-19th century it spread throughout southwest Missouri.

Craft Brewing History

The 70s didn’t just see a disco craze. Forgoing pricey European imports, beer enthusiasts began experimenting with home brewing European and English style ales. They saw it as a craft. These brewers wanted to bring the same level of care and passion displayed by winemakers who would carefully handle their grapes and fermentation processes.

Time was chugging along. Big-name beer brands with bland lagers and ales were a dime a dozen. Beer-drinking audiences wanted something more. So, the emergence of microbreweries and small brewpubs gained traction in towns all over America, but certainly in the Ozarks, and even more certainly in Springfield, Missouri.

Local brew pubs recreated the social atmosphere of early American pubs. Like Lost Signal Brewing, craft beer breweries continue to offer a variety of unique-tasting flavors that challenge the macro-breweries dominating the industry.

The 80s saw the birth of microbreweries across interstate 5 on the northwest. Craft beer brewing quickly spread across the country. And by the late 90s, Springfield, Missouri, saw a massive amount of microbreweries launching. By 2018, Springfield would prove to be a worthy hunting ground for really good microbrews in every corner of the city.

Lost Signal’s History

Lost Signal Brewing opened in February 2017 in a vacant building off West College Street in downtown Springfield. The building formerly housed a radio station, leaving behind the transmitter towers when they left. Jack took the opportunity to use what was left, building a brand name for his brews. Thus, Lost Signal Brewery was born, and with it, a Springfield brew and BBQ staple. This February 14th marks our 5th anniversary!

“I started this out of a pure passion for brewing really good beer. I wanted to share that passion with the public,” Jack explains. “I paired my passion for brewing with my dad’s passion for BBQ, and our dream was born. The last five years have been a mix of amazing successes and challenging times through the pandemic, but we made it, and we are ready to celebrate the next five years.”

Contact Lost Signal Brewing

Please find us in downtown Springfield, west of the square on College Street. Drop on by or contact us at 417-869-4755 or send an email at

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