Local Breweries: A Marker of Civic Success

The excerpt below is from a recently published book by author Jame's Fallows titled Our Townsin which he writes about his several year immersion in towns across America, and the "civic and economic reinvention" he observed to be happening now. Unsurprisingly, he articulates how the rise of craft beer fits into this narrative:

"Of course there is one other marker of a city that is working, perhaps the most reliable gauge. A city on the way back will have at least one craft brewery, maybe more, and probably some small distilleries, too. Until 2014, that would have been an unfair test for Mississippi, which effectively outlawed craft beers by setting maximum alcohol levels at near-beer level. A generation earlier, it would have been an unfair test for the country as a whole. It was not until the end of 1970 that Jimmy Carter, as part of his administration's deregulatory agenda, finally removed musty Prohibition-era restrictions on home brewing. This in turn allowed brewing enthusiasts to develop new products and expand their markets and businesses. By the early 1980s, local brewing pioneers like Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Company on the east coast, with his Sam Adams Beer, and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada, in the west, were along with others laying the foundation for today's golden age of distinctive local breweries and beers."

For a shorter read from Jame's Fallows on this topic, check out this article he published in The Atlantic: The Reinvention of America



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