Nationwide, the downward trend in number of operated breweries reached the lowest point in national history by the late 1970s, with fewer than 40 individual companies still brewing in 1980. By economic standards, an oligopoly had seized control of the U.S. brewing industry. All that one could rely on to identify a brand of beer was the color of the packaging and what sports team the brand supported. But the trend of beer becoming bigger, blander, and nationwide would not continue unabated. California proved to be fertile ground for new ideas about the brewing industry. These ideas expressed support for individualism, choice, democracy through smaller, bolder, and locally produced beer. New questions were raised about beer and brewing in California, following on the heels of social movements that influenced what we believed and consumed, and asking if the two were related.
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), 46-47.