Philadelphia, PA - One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest beer-brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Local taverns were arguably the true birthplace of the American Revolution, providing the well-stocked gathering spaces needed for our Founding Fathers and common men alike to execute the American Revolution.
In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries thrived in Philadelphia proper, with another 100 operating around the region. An area northwest of what’s now Center City, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As this neighborhood grew, area producers of German-style pilsners and American lagers alike expanded into nearby Kensington, Fishtown and beyond.
The brewery boom came to an end in 1920, when Prohibition brought on the decline—and near demise—of virtually all of Philadelphia’s beer producers, the majority of which remained shuttered beyond the repeal of the “Noble Experiment” in 1933.
Today, innovative craft breweries have proudly reclaimed the region’s reputation by brewing some of the country’s best beer. Well-earned designations from national press include Philadelphia’s appearance in Wine Enthusiast’s “Five Best Beer Cities,” GQ’s “The 5 Best Beer Cities in America” and Frommer’s “World’s Best Cities for Beer.”