Home News A Historical Look at the Price of Beer

A Historical Look at the Price of Beer

A colorful beer flight is illuminated against a bright sunset

A colorful beer flight is illuminated against a bright sunset A lot has gone into the price of beer. | iStock.com/BristolDen

The price of beer is an easy thing to take for granted. Since the end of Prohibition, the beer market has transformed itself multiple times. Major and independent breweries alike have collapsed, expanded, and consolidated power.

All the while, the price of a pint of beer followed a similarly chaotic path. And it’s only begun to stabilize in the past few years. Here’s the story of the price of beer, told alongside the market trends that eventually make their way down to the drink menu every American sees before ordering a pint at their favorite bar.

1. 1952-1955

Man drinking beer

Man drinking beer A man drinks beer. | George Marks/Getty Images

1952: $0.65
Adjusted for inflation: $5.93

1953: $0.65
Adjusted for inflation: $5.80

1954: $0.67
Adjusted for inflation: $5.93

1955: $0.67
Adjusted for inflation: $5.91

In the early 1950s, the American beer market was still dealing with the uncertainties and chaos that came in the wake of Prohibition. Some counties — and even entire states — continued to enforce temperance laws. That’s even after they were repealed on a national level. The temperance movement didn’t falter after Prohibition and sought to paint the brewing of beer as a waste of resources during World War II.

In the midst of the industry’s public relations crisis, breweries sought to reinvent themselves in the eyes of the American public. They pointed to the high thiamine and other vitamin B levels in brewer’s yeast, claiming they would make soldiers stronger. The U.S. military eventually agreed and mandated that breweries allocate 15% of their beer production for soldiers.

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