In the wake of America’s national Prohibition, public consumption of alcohol declined to a marked degree for a number of reasons, but with the growth of smaller breweries there is a resurgence of communal drinking in public. New styles of public consumption have developed, including beer festivals, bottle shares, tap takeovers, and brewery anniversary parties. Breweries have also become sites of tourism, worthy of traveling great distances to sample an acclaimed beer. The best example of this development is the annual February release of Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger, a stronger version of their famed Double India Pale Ale, Pliny the Elder. When released people from as far as Hawaii and Minnesota converge on the small town of Santa Rosa, CA to sample what is considered one of the world’s best beers. Such beer releases are pilgrimages for craft beer drinkers, drawing crowds of hundreds who will wait over 12 hours in line to taste an eight ounce glass of beer. Backed by a strong, anti-corporate ideology, the communities of craft beer drinkers congregate in new environments, perform almost ceremonial rituals when drinking, and revive the practice of public alcohol consumption.
Eric Ortega, “The Golden State of Brewing; California’s Economic and Cultural Influence in the American Brewing Industry” (Master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 2015), 114-115.