Nevada Brewing History in Brief

The first commercial brewer in Nevada was Carson City Brewery. It was opened in 1860, four years before Nevada was made a state. They made “Steam Beer” (not to be confused with modern steam beer pioneered by Anchor) until 1913, converting to brewing a true lager once technology to maintain cooler temperatures throughout the brewing process was available. Nevada had statewide prohibition go into effect in 1919, one year before nationwide prohibition. Production brewpubs were not legalized again in Nevada until 1993, which is when Big Dogs in Las Vegas and Great Basin Brewing in Reno opened their doors. Very slowly, other brewpub-style restaurants opened in the following years here in the Desert Valley. Even with the rapidly expanding number of craft breweries operating in the US, we are still nowhere near the popularity of independently owned and operated breweries in the pre-prohibition years. In the mid-1870s, there was one brewery open for every 11,000 people. In the US, there are now over 5,000 craft breweries operating—double what there were in 2013. 2016 averaged two new breweries opening every day! In 2016, craft breweries made 21% of all the beer sold in the US. Despite the much smaller percentage of market share, craft breweries still employ about half the brewery labor force. Homebrew limitations still exist in many places. For example, one is allowed to brew a maximum of 100 gallons per year in California. Mississippi and Alabama didn’t legalize homebrewing until 2013!

  • Nevada Brewing History in Brief