From grain to glass—a complete illustrated history of brewing and breweries in the state more famous for beer than any other
Few places on Earth are as identified with beer as Wisconsin, with good reason. Since its first commercial brewery was established in 1835, the state has seen more than 800 open and more than 650 close—sometimes after mere months, sometimes after thriving for as long as a century and a half. The Drink That Made Wisconsin Famous explores this rich history, from the first territorial pioneers to the most recent craft brewers, and from barley to barstool.
From the global breweries that developed in Milwaukee in the 1870s to the “wildcat” breweries of Prohibition and the upstart craft brewers of today, Doug Hoverson tells the stories of Wisconsin’s rich brewing history. The lavishly illustrated book goes beyond the giants like Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and Heileman that loom large in the state’s brewing renown. Of equal interest are the hundreds of small breweries across the state started by immigrants and entrepreneurs to serve local or regional markets. Many proved remarkably resistant to the consolidation and contraction that changed the industry—giving the impression that nearly every town in the Badger State had its own brewery. Even before beer tourism became popular, hunters, anglers, and travelers found their favorite brews in small Wisconsin cities like Rice Lake, Stevens Point, and Chippewa Falls. Hoverson describes these breweries in all their diversity, from the earliest enterprises to the few surviving stalwarts to the modern breweries reviving Wisconsin’s reputation as the place to find not just the most beer but the best.
Within the larger history, every brewery has its story, and Hoverson gives each its due, investigating the circumstances that meant success or failure and describing in engaging detail the people, the technology, the marketing, and the government relations that delivered Wisconsin’s beer from grain to glass.
About the Author
Doug Hoverson is author of Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota (Minnesota, 2007). He has written about beer and brewing history for publications ranging from American Breweriana Journal to The Growler to The Onion. He has been a consultant on documentaries about beer or related businesses and is a popular speaker on the history of beer.
"This beautiful book is to Wisconsin what Doug Hoverson’s Land of Amber Waters is to Minnesota: the state’s definitive history of beer and breweries, a highly readable, exhaustively researched work that is as fun as it is informative. What a story!"—Kevin Revolinski, author of Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide
"The Drink That Made Wisconsin Famous is a sweeping overview of the entire history of Wisconsin’s breweries, from the pioneer era to today’s craft brewing phenomenon. Doug Hoverson’s wide-ranging, in-depth research allows him to weave together the varied forces that shaped the industry and delve into the individual companies that marked its development over time, both in Wisconsin and across the country."—Susan Appel, Illinois State University
"Anyone following contemporary craft beer in Wisconsin will appreciate the historical value of The Drink That Made Wisconsin Famous. That IPA in your hand owes a lot to the brewers of the past, and Doug Hoverson’s profound research and lively storytelling puts the state’s proud and sometimes scandalous heritage into context."—Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beer writer and author of Beer Lover’s Wisconsin