The American brewing industry reached another milestone at the end of June, with more than 3,000 breweries operating for all or part of the month (3,040 to be precise). Although precise numbers from the 19th century are difficult to confirm, this is likely the first time the United States has crossed the 3,000 brewery barrier since the 1870s.
D. G. Yuengling & Son is the oldest operating brewing company in the United States, established in 1829. It is one of the largest breweries by volume in the country. Based on sales in 2011, Yuengling was tied with the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams brands, as the largest American-owned brewery.
For many large companies, sustainability can be a buzz term, a simple marketing ploy for sympathy and sales. For Sierra Nevada, the widely-distributed craft beer out of Chico, California, sustainability actually appears to mean something. We stopped in Sierra's headquarters to see what environmental brewing looks like. Many of the raw ingredients (hops and barley) are sourced locally or via ultra-efficient shipping routes. Recycled paper is used for packaging. And the roof of the facility is covered with more than 10,500 solar panels—one of the largest privately-owned solar installations in America.