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The cost of a beer the year you turned 21

  • 2002

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.99
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.42 (#51 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,513
    - U.S. beer production: 200.4 million barrels (+0.5% change from previous year)

    South African Breweries (SAB) bought leading producer Miller Brewing Company for $5.6 billion. The combined company became the world’s second-largest brewer.

  • 2003

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.01
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.41 (#54 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,485
    - U.S. beer production: 194.8 million barrels (-2.8% change from previous year)

    Coors entered the low-carb race with its doomed Aspen Edge. The Pacific Northwest lost its last large-scale brewery when SABMiller announced the closure of its 1.7 million barrels a year Tumwater, Wash., facility.

  • 2004

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.07
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.46 (#35 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,468
    - U.S. beer production: 198.1 million barrels (+1.7% change from previous year)

    Colorado mega-brewery Coors and Canadian biggie Molson announced a merger to become the world’s fifth-largest brewer.

  • 2005

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.09
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.44 (#44 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,447
    - U.S. beer production: 197.3 million barrels (-0.5% change from previous year)

    Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, knocking out the Big Easy’s oldest brewery, Dixie. After 14 years of using contract brewers, the beer returned home (well, New Orleans East to be exact) in 2019.

  • 2006

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.11
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.42 (#50 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,460
    - U.S. beer production: 197.7 million barrels (+0.2% change from previous year)

    Anheuser-Busch purchased Rolling Rock and moved production from Latrobe, Pa., where it’s been brewed since 1939, to New Jersey.

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  • 2007

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.12
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.39 (#60 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,511
    - U.S. beer production: 198.5 million barrels (+0.4% change from previous year)

    In 2007, the Brewers Association tweaked its definition of craft brewer to better reflect the growing and diverse sector. The definition includes the three pillars of craft brewing—small, independent, and traditional—but loosens the meaning of what is “traditional,” thereby allowing more room for innovation in the industry.

  • 2008

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.16
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.39 (#61 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,574
    - U.S. beer production: 199.6 million barrels (+0.6% change from previous year)

    In 2008 the world’s biggest brewery was born—or rather merged. Belgian brewing company InBev bought Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. But for the first time ever, America’s biggest brewer was no longer…American. The headquarters for the combined company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is in Belgium.

  • 2009

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.21
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.45 (#38 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,653
    - U.S. beer production: 196.3 million barrels (-1.7% change from previous year)

    With some of America’s strictest laws on alcohol consumption, Utah finally showed signs of loosening their regulations. The state now permits customers to enter a bar without filling out applications and paying a fee to become a member of a “private club.”

  • 2010

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.23
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.45 (#37 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 1,813
    - U.S. beer production: 195.1 million barrels (-0.6% change from previous year)

    Craft beer now generated over $7 billion a year in America, with sales doubling in just a decade. Overall beer sales declined 1%, yet craft beer bucked the trend and grew at an 11% clip.

  • 2011

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $1.24
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.42 (#49 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 2,047
    - U.S. beer production: 192.7 million barrels (-1.2% change from previous year)

    Imports now accounted for more cases of beer sold than domestics. Mexican lagers like Corona, the country’s favorite import, led the way.

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