Photo: Yuengling

The Oldest Brewery in Every State

Restaurants + Bars
by Matador Creators Apr 23, 2021

There were more than 8,700 breweries in the US as of 2020, but only 50 can claim the title of oldest continuous running brewery in its home state. We dug through available records, followed craft beer history timelines, and evaluated many (many) competing claims between breweries claiming to be the true first in the state, to find the oldest brewery in every state. We didn’t include the Budweisers and Millers of the world that you’re already familiar with, though we did include some of the smaller breweries that they own — either directly or through subsidiaries. Those are noted when necessary.

Whether you’re looking for a taste of where a state’s brewing and beer culture all started or you’re interested in building out a bucket list, these are the breweries to know on your travels.

Brewery entries were compiled by staff writer Eben Diskin, assistant food and drink editor Elisabeth Sherman, and food and drink editor Nickolaus Hines.

Alabama: Good People Brewing Co.

Where: 114 14th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
When it started: 2008
What to order: Good People American Brown Ale

First opened in 2008, Good People Brewing Co. is Alabama’s oldest and largest brewery. It was the natural culmination of a homebrewing hobby shared by Jason Malone and Mike Sellers, who started the business in Pickwick Plaza on Magnolia Avenue. In 2010, it moved to its current location on 14th street near Railroad Park. The brewery offers a range of IPAs, brown ales, and stouts, and is open for tours, tastings, and events.

Alaska: Alaskan Brewing Company

Where: 148 W 91st Ave, Anchorage, AK 99515
When it started: 1986
What to order: Icy Bay IPA

Dating all the way back to 1986, the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau was started by two 28-year-olds: Marcy and Geoff Larson. They cite southeast Alaska as the inspiration for many of their brews, which reflect similar characteristics as the ales brewed in Alaska during the gold rush era. That includes the Alaskan Amber recipe, alder-smoked malts, and Sitka spruce tips. There’s also the modern line up of a variety of IPAs, amber ales, seltzers, and limited edition porters.

Arizona: Barrio Brewing Company

Where: 800 E 16th St, Tucson, AZ 85719
When it started: 1991
What to order: Tucson Blonde Ale

Barrio Brewing Company wasn’t always the beer powerhouse it is today. It was originally launched in 1991 as a restaurant called Gentle Ben’s in Tucson. Owners Dennis and Tauna Arnold couldn’t ignore their love for craft beer, however, and soon transformed the restaurant into Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co. They expanded their beer offerings to immediate success and high demand, and in 2007 expanded to a large space just south of the city. That’s when the name officially changed to Barrio Brewing Company. In addition to beer, there’s a range of food, much of which incorporate beer into the recipe. 

Arkansas: Vino’s Brewpub

Where: 923 W 7th St, Little Rock, AR 72201
When it started: 1993
What to order: Firehouse Pale Ale

Established in 1993, Vino’s is Arkansas’s oldest continually operating craft brewery. More than just beer, it also serves up New York-style pizza, sandwiches, salads, and live entertainment. Originally conceived as Vino’s Pizzeria in 1990, it quickly converted to a brewpub once Arkansas legalized them in 1993. Vino’s prides itself on its wide variety of handcrafted ales, IPAs, stouts, and porters, and its reputation as the state’s “Original Brewpub.”

California: Anchor Brewing

Anchor Brewing Company

Photo: Anchor Brewing Company/Facebook

Where: 1705 Mariposa Street San Francisco, CA 94107
When it started: 1849
What to order: Anchor Steam Beer

Anchor Brewing in San Francisco traces its roots back to 1849, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle came to San Francisco during the California gold rush. He purchased an old saloon on Pacific Street, and in 1896, it was bought by German brewer Ernst F. Baruthand his son-in-law Otto Schinkel Jr. They named it Anchor and turned it into a full-fledged brewery. Fast-forward 100 years, and the brewery is still evolving. In 1993 it became the first brewery in the world with its own in-house distillery. Now the brewery is owned by the Japanese beer company Sapporo Holdings. The Anchor Steam beer — a deep amber colored beer with a thick, creamy head — has been the brewery’s bread-and-butter for over 50 years, and remains a top seller.

Colorado: Wynkoop Brewing Company

Where: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202
When it started: 1988
What to order: Dos Lunas lager

In 1988, geologist John Hickenlooper started Wynkoop Brewing Company inside of an old mercantile building that was built in 1899. Hickenlooper would go on to become governor of Colorado, a presidential candidate, and a US Senator, but first he launched a brewpub that became a local staple for decades to come. The brewery crafts over 40 different styles of beer, from sessionable ales and lagers to seasonal and experimental offerings like a stout made with bull testicals. 

Connecticut: Willimantic Brewing Company

Where: 967 Main St, Willimantic, CT 06226
When it started: 1991
What to order: Willibrew Certified Gold blonde ale

Connecticut’s oldest brewery was founded in 1991 as a small deli called the Maine Street Cafe. The cafe transformed into a full service restaurant featuring American Craft-brewed beers, and later, that concept evolved into a full brewery. Now located in an old post office building from 1909, Willimantic Brewing Company is a seven-barrel brewery producing a range of American, German, and other beers.

Delaware: Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales

Where: 6 Cannery Village Center Milton, DE 19968
When it started: 1995
What to order: 60 Minute IPA

This iconic Delaware staple started in 1995 as Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats — the state’s first brewpub. Ever since, it’s been serving up handcrafted and locally inspired beers, and has grown to become a nationally recognized brand. In 2002, Dogfish Head started distilling gin, rum, and vodka to further diversify its options. The brewery also has a beer-themed inn located in downtown Lewes for weary (or hungover) travelers to rest their heads. In 2019 Dogfish started a new chapter by merging with Boston Beer Company.

Florida: Dunedin Brewery

Dunedin Brewery

Photo: Dunedin Brewery/Facebook

Where: 937 Douglas Ave, Dunedin, FL 34698
When it started: 1995
What to order: air. American pilsner

Dunedin started in 1995, and though there were a few large breweries in Florida, Dunedin was the first craft brewery in the state. Dunedin opened in 1995 and is a laid back and spacious brewery. Today, it makes a variety of classic beer styles and innovative ones, like the Biere de Cafe, a brown ale made with chocolate and locally roasted coffee. When you go, there’s also a food menu with upscale versions of typical bar offerings.


Where: 2323 Defoor Hills Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
When it started: 1993
What to order: Soul of the City pale ale

Former Guinness executive Greg Kelly founded Atlanta Brewing Company in 1993. Beer was produced using a large red malt mill found in an abandoned meadow in England, and it’s still in use today. In 2010, the brewery changed its name to Red Brick Brewing Company after its original and popular Red Brick Ale. The name has since reverted back to the original, though the brewery is still often known as the Red Brick. In 2013 brewmaster Garett Lockhart and head brewer Steve Anderson took over brewing operations and added award-winning brews like Vanilla Gorilla and Beard Envy Barleywine.

Hawaii: Kona Brewing Company

Where: 74-5612 Pawai Place Kailua Kona, HI 96740
When it started: 1994
What to order: Longboard Island Lager

When it comes to drinks, the Aloha State is more famous for fruity cocktails with umbrellas than for beer. Though the first brewery opened on the islands in 1854, brewing has come and gone in fits and starts until relatively recently. Today, the longest running brewery in Hawaii is Kona Brewing Company on the big island of Hawaii. Father-son duo Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa opened Kona Brewing in 1994. The brand has long been a champion of sustainability. A new production brewery opening just down the road from the original location will only add to the company’s sustainability mission with CO2 reclamation, recycled water, and on-site renewable energy sources. Admirable sustainability efforts matched with truly delicious beer makes choosing a cold one over a fruity cocktail an easy choice. 

Idaho: Highlands Hollow

Where: 2455 N Highlands Holw, Boise, ID 83702
When it started: 1992
What to order: Fiegwild English-style pale ale

Two breweries often get credit as Idaho’s oldest: Grand Teton Brewing and Highlands Hollow Brewhouse. Only, for the first 10 years of Grand Teton Brewing’s life, it was just across the border in Wyoming. That means Highlands Hollow in Boise takes the designation when it comes to oldest in the state. The brewery is housed in what was once The Brass Lamp in a building with rafters made of repurposed Boise State University stadium materials — rafters that are now covered with a massive collection of coasters. It reinvented itself as Harrison Hollow Brewhouse in 1992, then changed its name to Highlands Hollow Brewhouse in 2004. Throughout all of the changes, the brewpub has remained a standby for craft beer and pub food in Idaho’s capital city.

Illinois: Goose Island

Goose Island

Photo: Goose Island/Facebook

Where: 1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
When it started: 1988
What to order: Sofie saison, or any of the Bourbon County Brand stouts

Illinois has a long brewing history that dates back to Peacock Brewery in 1849. The state’s modern beer reputation, however, starts with Goose Island, which opened in 1988. A few other craft breweries started around the same time, but Goose Island is the oldest left standing. You’re likely familiar with the brand if you’ve ever glanced at beer lists and tap handles across the country. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company, purchased Goose Island in 2011 and turned it into a global brand. The conglomerate ownership means Goose Island isn’t technically a craft brewery anymore. If you’re looking for an independent brewery, Mickey Finn’s Brewery, which opened in 1993, is the next oldest operating brewery.

Indiana: Broad Ripple Brewpub

Where: 842 E 65th St, Indianapolis, IN 46220
When it started: 1990
What to order: I.P.A.

In 1990, Indiana got its first ever brewpub and what is today the oldest operating brewery in the state: Broad Ripple Brewpub. It’s designed like an English pub with a fireplace, stained glass windows, and dark wood, and most of the beers are European styles, like English-style ales and IPAs, German-style lagers, and Irish-style red ales. It’s not a theme picked at random — the owner, John Hill, was born in Middlesbrough North Yorkshire, while his wife Nancy is from Indiana. If you visit in the warmer months, there’s food available and a dog-friendly outdoors area.

Iowa: Millstream Brewery

Where: 835 48th Ave, Amana, IA 52203
When it started: 1985
What to order: German Pilsner

Traditional German-style beers are what you’ll find at Millstream Brewery, Iowa’s oldest brewery. It opened in 1985, putting it at the forefront of craft brewing for the entire country and not just Iowa, and has an attached German-style beer hall called Millstream Brau Haus that was added to the building in 2016. Despite the history and a lively beer hall that would draw in any passing beer lover, there’s a good chance you would miss Millstream if you didn’t make a designated trip just to visit — it’s located in the 400 or so person town of Amana. German food goes along with the beers if you make it out there, and there are select live music nights that can be found on the brewery’s website.

Kansas: Free State Brewing

Where: 636 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044
When it started: 1989
What to order: Ad Astra Ale

Prohibition is the cut off for when brewing temporarily ended in many states. In Kansas, all alcohol production was made illegal decades before in 1881. That meant that when Free State Brewing opened up in 1989, it was reviving a brewing tradition Kansas hadn’t seen in more than 100 years. The first beer Free State made was Ad Astra Ale, which gets its name from the state motto Ad Astra per Aspera, which means To the Stars Through Difficulties.

Kentucky: Bluegrass Brewing Company

BBC Arena

Photo: BBC Arena/Facebook

Where: 300 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
When it started: 1993
What to order: Bourbon Barrel Stout

It can be hard for a brewery to make a name for itself in a state so synonymous with bourbon. Still, Kentucky has a long brewing history — it even has its own distinct style, the Kentucky Common cream ale. One of the most famous Kentucky brewers was the George Wiedemann Brewing Company. It opened in 1870 and ran until 1927, then opened again in 1933 after Prohibition. Another break came in 1967, and when the brewery started up once again in 2011 (after many changes in ownership, obviously), it was centered in Cincinnati. But there’s a new old guard that’s led by Bluegrass Brewing Company, which opened in Louisville in 1993. The three brewpub locations in the city offer classic pub food and a selection of beers (including Kentucky’s “original bourbon barrel aged beer” made using Four Roses barrels) and a mead called Luna de Miel that’s always on tap.

Louisiana: Abita Brewing Company

Where: 21084 LA-36, Covington, LA 70433
When it started: 1986
What to order: Amber Lager

About 30 miles north of New Orleans you’ll find the town of Covington and Louisiana’s oldest brewery still in operation: Abita Brewing Company. It had a humble start making 1,500 barrels of beer, but is now one of the largest craft breweries in the country and makes more than 125,000 barrels a year. The original brewery has been transformed into a 100-seat brew pub, and the brews are well loved in the state and elsewhere both for drinking and for cooking. The Munich-style Amber Lager was the first beer made at the brewery and remains the top seller, though a long list of creative beers keeps things interesting. Another to try is Purple Haze, a lager made with real raspberries thrown in after filtration.

Maine: Geary Brewing Company

Where: 38 Evergreen Dr, Portland, ME 04103
When it started: 1983
What to order: Geary’s Pale Ale

Today, the northeasternmost state in the US is well known as the home of some of the most beloved craft breweries in the country. It started, as with many things, with one: Geary Brewing Company in Portland. The brewery was the first in New England and one of the first in the US, and it has federal craft brewing license number 13 to prove it. The modern beer list is split into two sections. There’s the heritage line up made with open fermentation that includes English-style pale ales and a winter warmer, and the contemporary line up, which are modern, closed-fermentation beers (think raspberry lagers and hazy IPAs). The brewery itself deserves a stop no matter how long your Portland brewery travel list is, and the beer garden features food trucks and live bands in the summer.

Maryland: Flying Dog Brewing

Where: 4216 Shannon Dr, Baltimore, MD 21213
When it started: 1993
What to order: 206 IPA

Maryland’s largest craft brewery is Flying Dog Brewing in Fredrick, Maryland. It’s also the oldest surviving brewery if you only count the original start date and ignore the brewery’s movements: it started in Aspen Colorado, and then moved to Denver before moving to Maryland permanently in 2007. A small brewery in downtown Baltimore called Oliver Brewing takes the designation of oldest brewery in the state when it’s cut down to businesses that have continuously operated in Maryland from the start. Oliver Brewing opened in 1993 with the goal to make English-style ales on equipment from the UK. It’s still running strong today, though the focus isn’t solely on the English anymore. The ever-changing beers available range from hoppy double IPAs to fruited sours to bourbon barrel aged stouts.

Massachusetts: Boston Beer Company

Samuel Adams

Photo: Samuel Adams/Facebook

Where: 30 Germania St, Boston, MA 02130
When it started: 1984
What to order: Sam Adams Boston Lager

Beer was on the minds of the first colonists who landed on what is today Massachusetts, and Boston itself had more than two dozen breweries in the colonial era. Boston is also the home of one of the founding breweries of the modern craft beer movement: Boston Beer Co. Jim Koch started the company with a family recipe and a beer he called Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It quickly racked up the accolades, and the company today remains a fixture in the beer community as one of the largest craft brewing companies that also owns brands like Delaware’s Dogfish Head and non-beer brands like Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea, and Truly Hard Seltzer.

Michigan: Bell’s Brewery

Where: 355 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
When it started: 1985
What to order: Two Hearted Ale

Few states are as famous for beer as Michigan. Part of the reason why is history, and one of the breweries that claims to be the oldest leans on a long past. Frankenmuth Brewing Company traces its roots to Geyer Bros. Brewing Co., which opened in 1874. It ran until 1987, closed and was purchased by another owner in 1990, and then a tornado hit the building in 1996. After reopening, it closed again in 2003 before opening once again in 2009. All of this is to say that while Frankenmuth Brewing Company has a storied background, it’s had fits and starts with years of closures in between openings. The oldest continuously running brewery in Michigan is Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, which you likely know thanks to the flagship Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. The brewery started in 1985 after owner Larry Bell owned a homebrew supply shop for two years, and today it’s one of the most well known and loved craft breweries in the country.

Minnesota: Schell’s Brewery

Where: 1860 Schell Road New Ulm, MN 56073
When it started: 1860
What to order: Firebrick Vienna-style Amber Lager

Yuengling is the only family owned brewery in America that can best Minnesota’s oldest brewery when it comes to continuous longevity. Schell’s Brewery was opened by a German immigrant to New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1860. Since then, it’s stayed open through battles during the “Dakota Conflict,” Prohibition (when it sold low alcohol “near-beer” to keep the doors open), brewery consolidation, and the craft brewery movement. A lot has changed since horse and buggy transported cases of small batch beer. The brewery stayed relevant by sticking to German beer styles while the mainstream national breweries like Budweiser and Miller capitalized on easy drinking lagers. Today, German-style beers like hefeweizens and Vienna lagers are still on the menu at the historic brewery alongside IPAs and barrel-aged releases.

Mississippi: Lazy Magnolia Brewery

Where: 7030 Roscoe-Turner Rd, Kiln, MS 39556
When it started: 2003
What to order: Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

Mississippi was late to the craft beer movement. Lazy Magnolia Brewery was the first brewery to open in the state since Mississippi enacted a statewide alcohol prohibition in 1907 — more than a decade before nationwide capital-P Prohibition. The beers are a favorite throughout the South, especially the Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, which is the rare beer made with whole roasted pecans. The brewery in the southern part of the state near the Gulf of Mexico has an inviting taproom and restaurant called The Porch that’s worth a stop on a Southern road trip.

Missouri: Boulevard Brewing Company

Where: 2501 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
When it started: 1989
What to order: Tank 7 American Saison

When you think of Missouri beer, you likely think of what is arguably the most famous beer made in America: Budweiser. While the St. Louis beer giant has taken over, a brewery across the state in Kansas City holds the title for oldest craft brewery: Boulevard Brewing Co. Founder John McDonald first fell for Belgian-style beers in 1984, and he released his first beer — Boulevard Pale Ale — in 1989. It didn’t take long for the brewery to take off. It became a regional favorite on the backs of original and classic beer styles the brand put out. Boulevard Brewing Co. was among the largest craft breweries in the country before selling to the Belgian brewing company Duvel Moortgat in 2014, bringing the Belgian influence full circle.

Montana: Bayern Brewing

Where: 1507 Montana St, Missoula, MT 59801
When it started: 1987
What to order: Pilsener

Like many of the oldest breweries in America, Montana’s longest running brewery has a strong German influence. Bayern Brewing opened in Missoula in 1987, and it gets its name from where the owner and master brewer, Jurgen Knoller, grew up: Bayern, which literally translates to the German state of Bavaria. German lagers are known around the world thanks to the Reinheitsgebot, which is the beer purity law that dictates only water, hops, yeast, and barley can be used in beer. Bayern Brewing follows the same rules. Don’t think that means a limit in styles, though. The brewery has around 20 beers, from an unfiltered organic amber to traditional pilsners and doppelbocks.

Nebraska: Empyrean Brewing Company

Where: 729 Q St, Lincoln, NE 68508
When it started: 1990
What to order: Imperial Mango IPA

Empyrean Brewing Co. opened in Nebraska in 1990. The business went by Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill at the time, and was located in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket. By 1997, the brewing part of Brewery & Grill became big enough to split off into a separate business. For the name, the owners picked Empyrean, which means the highest heaven and the land of fire. Being the first modern craft brewery in the state wasn’t the only accomplishment, it was also the first to distribute statewide in 2002. Most recently, Empyrean broke ground for a new brewery and taproom in the South Haymarket area.

Nevada: Great Basin Brewing Company

Where: 846 Victorian Ave, Sparks, NV 89431
When it started: 1993
What to order: Ichthyosaur “ICKY” IPA

Sparks, Nevada, is where you’ll find the original location of Great Basin Brewing Company. The award-winning brewery started in 1993 and grew into a second brewpub location in The Biggest Little City (Reno, for the uninitiated) in 2010. There’s a long list of staple year-round beers from an IPA to an amber ale to a milk stout, as well as innovative beers you won’t find anywhere else, like the Orogenesis that’s an imperial red ale aged in ex-bourbon barrels from Nevada’s Frey Ranch Estate Distillery. The food is a draw as well, with breads made from spent beer grains and a hearty list of brewpub favorites like pizza on the menu.

New Hampshire: Portsmouth Brewery

The Portsmouth Brewery

Photo: The Portsmouth Brewery/Facebook

Where: 56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
When it started: 1991
What to order: Black is Beautiful is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout and the toasted tofu sandwich

Portsmouth Brewery opened in 1991 and is well-known for using fresh, locally sourced ingredients in its beer and its kitchen menu. Owners Peter Egelston and Joanne Francis are pillars of the community, holding events like Token Tuesday, during which patrons receive wooden tokens worth 25 cents for every pint they purchase, which can be donated to one of the four charities the brewery supports. Portsmouth Brewery is committed to sustainability; much of its menu is vegetarian friendly, beer byproducts are reused as animal feed, and all food is composted. 

New Jersey: Descendants Brewing Company

Where: 61 Bridge Street Milford, NJ 08848
When it started: 1995
What to order: Best Bitter

Descendants Brewing Company (formerly The Ship Inn) is technically New Jersey’s oldest craft brewery with an opening year of 1995. A production brewery that makes Budweiser, Rolling Rock, and other AB InBev brands has been operating in Newark since the 1950s, though. The vibe is English pub, complete with British food, cask ales, and ciders to be enjoyed under a Victorian tin ceiling.

New Mexico: Santa Fe Brewing Company

Where: 35 Fire Pl, Santa Fe, NM 87508
When it started: 1988
What to order: Chicken Killer Barley Wine

In 1988, a “cowboy” named Mike Levis founded the Santa Fe Brewing Company. He brewed the first batch of Santa Fe Pale Ale — which is still served at the brewery today. Perhaps its most well-known beer is the Chicken Killer Barley Wine, created in homage to the chickens massacred by one of the founding brewer’s pet dachshund, Petey. Today, Santa Fe Brewing Company runs its own hop farm, where it grows “wild hops native to New Mexico,” and in 2011, installed a 18-kilowatt solar panel system on the brewery’s roof to help reduce its electricity usage. The “Beer Hall at HQ” in Santa Fe offers an outdoor patio with mountain views, and 27 taps of beer, cider, and wine. 

New York: Genesee

Where: 25 Cataract St. Rochester, NY 14605
When it started: 1878
What to order: Cream Ale

Genesee Brewery in Rochester opened in 1878 but thanks to a nearly $50 million renovation project it’s one of the most modern looking breweries in the state. Still, the main focus of the brewery is still on its three classic styles, Genesee Beer, Genesee Light, and Cream Ale. The Genesee Brew House features a restaurant, bar, and taproom, and offers tours of the brewing facility itself. 

North Carolina: Weeping Radish

Where: 6810 Caratoke Hwy, Grandy, NC 27939
When it started: 1986
What to order: Black Radish German Lager

Weeping Radish Farm Brewery & Butchery was founded by Uli Bennewitz, an immigrant from Bavaria, in the early 1980s. At the time, it was illegal for breweries in the state to sell beer directly to customers, and Bennewitz successfully campaigned to change the law. The brewery specializes in beers produced according to Germany’s Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of 1516, which requires that beer only be brewed using hops, malt, yeast, and water. In the early 2000s, the brewery employed a German “master butcher,” to create sausage and charcuterie recipes using free range beef and pork. Today, guests can sip beer and eat lunch at the Weeping Radish pub, then stop by the butchery to stock up on meats or take a tour of the brewing facility. 

North Dakota: Fargo Brewing Company

Where: 610 N University Dr, Fargo, ND 58102
When it started: 2010
What to order: Iron Horse Pale Ale

As one of the last states to have a craft brewery, winning the award of oldest and longest running isn’t as hard as it is in, say, Minnesota. Fargo Brewing Company takes the title with it’s opening date of 2010. The brewery became a neighborhood standard as a place not just to sit back and drink local beer, but also a spot to see concerts and events. Fargo Brewing Company has also made a name for itself by helping shelter dogs find a home by putting their mugs on cans. That’s something we can get behind.

Ohio: Great Lakes Brewing Company

Where: 2516 Market Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
When it started: 1988
What to order: Dortmunder Gold Lager

Great Lakes Brewing Co. started brewing on a 7-barrel system and selling its beer commercially in 1988. Today, it’s the largest, and oldest, brewery in Ohio, and that original comparatively tiny set up is used solely for experimental batches of beer sold onsite. Great Lakes Brewing has a few notable milestones that helped it get to where it is today. First, its Dortmunder Gold Lager won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery was also one of the first to make an American spiced holiday ale, which is well loved. Great Lakes Brewing also has made multiple sustainability efforts, including joining a collective of one of the largest urban farms in the country and founding the Pint Size Farm agricultural cooperative.

Oklahoma: Bricktown Brewery

Where: 1 N Oklahoma Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
When it started: 1992
What to order: Bricktown Old King Kolsch

Oklahoma has never made it easy for people who make alcohol for a living. The state didn’t repeal Prohibition until 1952, and legal limits on beer’s alcohol percentage have long been roadblocks. If you’re looking for the oldest brewery in Oklahoma that operates as people commonly expect today, that brewery is Choc, which helped change the law to allow full-strength craft brewing in 1995. But in terms of the first brewery overall, that honor goes to Bricktown Brewery. Bricktown started brewing beer under 4 percent in 1992, which was legal at the time. Today the company has a chain of brewpubs in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. The original location in Oklahoma City still stands, and the low alcohol session beers Bricktown has specialized in are now more popular among beer lovers on a national level.

Oregon: Widmer Brothers

Widmer Brothers Brewing

Photo: Widmer Brothers Brewing/Facebook

Where: 929 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227
When it started: 1984
What to order: Hefe, the original American hefeweizen

Oregon is a craft beer state through and through. Need proof? The Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the oldest state brewing guilds in the country. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to run a brewery for decades on end, though. BridgePort Brewing, which opened in 1984 and was long the oldest craft brewery in the state, closed in 2019. Then Portland Brewing Co., which opened in 1986, closed in early 2021. One has survived, though: Widmer Brothers, which opened in 1984 and is still going strong. Today, it’s owned by Craft Brew Alliance, which itself is owned by Budweiser’s parent company AB-InBev.

Pennsylvania: Yuengling

Where: 420 Mahantongo St, Pottsville, PA 17901
When it started: 1829
What to order: Yuengling Lager

The oldest brewery in Pennsylvania is also the oldest running brewery in the US: Yuengling. It was opened by a German immigrant, David G. Yuengling, who started it up in 1829 as Eagle Brewery in Pottsville, and it remained family owned (and has since taken on the family name). You can find Yuengling in many states in the South and along the Eastern seaboard. A trip to the brewery can be supplemented by beer samples and a look at the caves where the beer was stored to stay cool in an era with little ice or refrigeration.

Rhode Island: Union Station Brewing

Where: 36 Exchange Terrace, Providence, RI 02903
When it started: 1993
What to order: Whatever is fresh on tap

Narragansett is one of the most famous names in beer in Rhode Island. It was, after all, the beer preferred by Captain Quint in Jaws. But after more than a hundred years of running, the brewery shut down in the 1980s before restarting under new ownership in 2005. With that shift, a small brew pub called Union Station Brewing that opened in 1993 takes the cake as the oldest in Rhode Island. Beer and tavern food are served up to this day in the former Union Station train depot.

South Carolina: Palmetto Brewing

Where: 289 Huger St, Charleston, SC 29403
When it started: 1993
What to order: Lowcountry Lager

Palmetto Brewing is the Palmetto State’s oldest brewery. It was started after founders Ed Falkenstein and Louis Bruce visited Full Sail Brewery (one of Oregon’s oldest craft breweries in the Hood River Valley), and they were instrumental in getting craft brewing laws on the books in South Carolina. Palmetto Brewing merged with Catawba Brewing Company in North Carolina, and today the two work collaboratively together with beers from both offered at each respective tap room.

South Dakota: Firehouse Brewing

Where: 610 Main St, Rapid City, SD 57701
When it started: 1991
What to order: Firehouse Red

Firehouse Brewing gets its name from a firehouse, as you might suspect. Not just any firehouse, though, but in Rapid City’s oldest firehouse that was built in 1915. The firehouse itself was central to the concept of the brewery. It started as a way to bring the building back to life and showcase and protect that history while using the space as a brewery and taproom. On a visit to the brewery, you’ll see many parts of the original building, which is listed on the National Historic Register, such as the original fire pole, ladders, and patches. Check the calendar, as the restaurant and bar also has a band-shell for live music and theater, and for the beer adverse, it’s also a winery.

Tennessee Blackstone Brewing Company

Where: 2312 Clifton Ave, Nashville, TN 37209
When it started: 1994
What to order: St. Charles Porter

Tennessee got what today is the oldest modern brewery in 1994 when Blackstone Brewing Co. opening in Nashville. Today, it’s also the most award-winning brewery in Nashville. You can taste why those awards were won for yourself at the Blackstone TapHouse, which has 16 beers on tap. There’s also a take on food trucks that you don’t find pretty much anywhere else: a food bus. Specifically, a 1989 Ford School Bus that now has a full kitchen dishing out burgers, fries, fish and chips, and other classic bar food whenever the taproom is open.

Texas: Spoetzl Brewery

Where: 603 E Brewery St, Shiner, TX 77984
When it started: 1909
What to order: Shiner Bock

The oldest brewery in Texas started in 1909 to satisfy Bohemian immigrants in the area with fresh beer produced right there in Shiner, Texas, rather than being shipped in from San Antonio or Houston. It was purchased by Kosmos Spoetzl in 1915, and he gave the brewery the name it has today, but the name of the beer is still known by the town it’s from: Shiner. Prohibition, world wars, and changing tastes in beer couldn’t close the brewery. When Spoetzl died in 1950, his daughter, Cecilie, became the only woman brewery owner in the country, and she helped build on the brewery’s legacy. Today, it’s owned by the Gambrinus Company and you can find the Spoetzl Brewery’s most famous beer, Shiner Bock, across the country.

Utah: Wasatch Brewery

Where: 250 Main St, Park City, UT 84060
When it started: 1986
What to order: Polygamy Porter

Utah was once home to some of the largest breweries in the West. But as the population shifted from thirsty miners to the alcohol averse and religiously minded, beer took a backseat until 1986. That was the year that Greg Schirf, who’s originally from Milwaukee, started Wasatch Brewery. It’s been a strong influence as Utah’s beer brewing reputation builds back up again over the past three and a half decades. Today, Wasatch has locations in Sugar House and the Salt Lake City airport in addition to the original location on main street in Park City.

Vermont: Vermont Pub & Brewery

Where: 144 College St, Burlington, VT 05401
When it started: 1988
What to order: Burly Irish Ale

Vermont is another state that is synonymous with craft beer today, but the industry got its start with a humble beer put that’s still in operation. Vermont Pub & Brewery founder Greg Noonan helped to change the laws to allow on-site beer sales at breweries, thus ushering in a sudsy era. It was the first brewery in Vermont in 94 years when the brew pub opened in 1988. Some of the original beers are still fan favorites, like the Burly Irish Ale, which also won a Gold Medal at the Great International Beer Competition, and one of the original East Coast style IPAs, Bombay Grab IPA. Find those beers on tap at the brewery today, as well as hearty food like fish and chips, poutine, and burgers.

Virginia: Legend Brewing Company

Legend Brewing Company

Photo: Legend Brewing Company/Facebook

Where: 321 W 7th St, Richmond, VA 23224
When it started: 1994
What to order: Legend Brown Ale

Legend is the first modern brewery, and the current oldest brewery, in Virginia. It opened on a gravel road in the Old Manchester District of Richmond in 1994 and served sandwiches and fries (food was required to sell alcohol at the time), but there wasn’t a whole lot there in terms of what could draw people in. The location would have to grow to live up to the brewery’s name, and it did. Today, it has a beer garden, 180 seat restaurant, and a 200 seat deck overlooking the James River. It still makes the classics that it started with (a lager, pilsner, porter, and brown ale), as well as a few seasonal and limited offerings, like a Belgian-style tripel.

Washington: Redhook Brewery

Where: Pike Motorworks Building, 714 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
When it started: 1981
What to order: Long Hammer IPA

Washington’s craft brewing history is about as long as it is storied. It starts in 1981 when Gordon Bowker and Paul Shipman opened Redhook Brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The first beer was a hit and came to be known as “Banana Beer,” and Redhook quickly grew out of its first location. It moved to a bigger space in Fremont in 1991, and opened a production brewery in Washington in 1994, and an East Coast brewery in New Hampshire in 1996, making it the first craft brewery to have bicoastal locations. Today, like Kona in Hawaii and Widmer Brothers in Oregon, Redhook Brewery is part of the Craft Brew Alliance that’s owned by AB InBev.

West Virginia: North End Tavern & Brewery

Where: 3500 Emerson Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26104
When it started: 1997
What to order: Roedy’s Red

In 1899, North End Tavern opened in Parkersburg’s North End. By some accounts, that makes it the 122nd oldest bar in the US. The brewing arm of the operation is the first oldest when you narrow it down to just breweries in West Virginia, though. North End Brewing opened in 1997 using equipment from Cardinal Brewing, which had just closed. It’s stayed small over the years, but you don’t stay around for so long by over extending yourself. Three to six beers are made each month, and the flagship Roedy’s Red has won some local awards.

Wisconsin: Sprecher Brewing Co.

Where: 701 W Glendale Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53209
When it started: 1985
What to order: Black Bavarian Schwarzbier

Milwaukee has been a beer city for centuries thanks to brands like Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz. The craft beer side of Milwaukee, and the rest of Wisconsin, brewing came when Sprecher Brewing Co. opened in 1985. Randy Sprecher opened his brewery with his own custom-built brewing equipment right after a four-year stint at Pabst from 1980 to 1984. The brewery earned early awards for its Black Bavarian and Special Amber. To this day it’s one of the only US breweries that uses a fire-brewing process to caramelize flavors in the beers. Sprecher ran the brewery up until February 2020, when he took his retirement.

Wyoming: Snake River Brewing Co.

Where: 265 S Millward St, Jackson, WY 83001
When it started: 1994
What to order: Zonker Stout

Wyoming may be the least populous state in the country, but it has some seriously good breweries and distilleries. The oldest brewery still running in the state is Snake River Brewing Co., which Albert and Joni Upsher opened in 1994. Albert previously worked as a distributor for Anheuser Busch in Oregon, and found a home for his own business in Jackson. There’s something about a ski town that makes local beer taste all the better, and Snake River Brewing’s longevity proves that’s a common perception. Good beer helps, too. The brewery has won the Great American Beer Festival Small Brewer of the Year award numerous times, as well as more than 30 medals for its beers.

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