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The cost of a beer the year you turned 21

  • 1962

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.24
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $2.04 (#11 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 178
    - U.S. beer production: 96.4 million barrels (+3.1% change from previous year)

    More canning innovation debuted this year as Pittsburgh Brewing Company, makers of Iron City, rolled out the tab top can, a precursor to the now-ubiquitous ring pull tab. Also based in Pittsburgh, Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminum maker, partnered with Pittsburgh Brewing on several canning initiatives as aluminum cans began their domination of the beer market.

  • 1963

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.24
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $2.04 (#12 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 173
    - U.S. beer production: 98.0 million barrels (+1.6% change from previous year)

    National Brewing Company debuted Colt 45, named after 1963 Colts running back #45 Jerry Hill and not the handgun. This kicked off a controversy that continues today: That cheap, high-alcohol malt liquor is disproportionately marketed to poor, inner-city communities.

  • 1964

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.24
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $2.03 (#13 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 168
    - U.S. beer production: 103.0 million barrels (+5.2% change from previous year)

    Boston goes dry. Not intentionally of course, but the last remaining brewery in Boston, Haffenreffer (established: 1870), fermented its final batch of beer and closed the following year. For the first time in 300 years, Beantown found itself without an operating brewery.

  • 1965

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.25
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $2.02 (#14 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 163
    - U.S. beer production: 108.0 million barrels (+4.9% change from previous year)

    While Americans consumed a record 108 million barrels of beer in 1965, beer drinkers began thinking about quality over quantity. At least a few did. Home appliance scion Fritz Maytag III purchased tiny Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco and turned a profit by concentrating on high-quality, small-batch beer. This is the seed of America’s craft-brewery movement, one that would require decades more nurturing before it blossoms. Also, the ring pull can debuted, rendering tab and twist-off tops obsolete.

  • 1966

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.25
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.98 (#15 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 158
    - U.S. beer production: 109.7 million barrels (+1.6% change from previous year)

    Anheuser-Busch continued its aggressive expansion, adding another million barrels of capacity by opening its third of what is now 12 breweries in Houston, Texas. This enabled the company to become the first brewery to cross the 10 million barrels a year mark.

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  • 1967

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.26
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.97 (#16 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 153
    - U.S. beer production: 116.6 million barrels (+6.2% change from previous year)

    A 4.2% ABV pale lager called Gablinger's Diet Beer debuts in 1967, hoping to capture a market that had eluded Coors prior to World War II: America’s health-conscious beer drinker. Gablinger’s fails, too, but the inventor sells the recipe to Meister Brau which is eventually acquired by Miller and turned into the world’s first successful light beer, reborn as Miller Lite in 1973.

  • 1968

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.26
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.94 (#17 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 148
    - U.S. beer production: 117.5 million barrels (+0.8% change from previous year)

    While Vietnam War protests roiled other campuses, students at Colorado State University held a “beer-in” to protest the university’s conservative policies, including a campus beer ban. They won the right to have greater say in how the school was run, including rescinding the beer ban.

  • 1969

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.27
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.88 (#18 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 143
    - U.S. beer production: 122.7 million barrels (+4.4% change from previous year)

    For the first time in America’s beer-drinking history, cans outsold bottles and drafts. Aluminum was lighter and therefore cheaper to transport, kept beer colder longer, and proved more durable than glass. Bottles would never again regain top favor.

  • 1970

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.28
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.84 (#19 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 138
    - U.S. beer production: 134.7 million barrels (+9.8% change from previous year)

    Americans’ love of malted barley continued as they downed 134.7 million barrels in 1970. Milwaukee’s Schlitz became the world’s largest brewery, but after a series of critical missteps in forthcoming years, including a recall of 10 million tainted bottles in 1976, the brewery went under less than 30 years later.

  • 1971

    - Price of a 16-oz beer: $0.29
    - Inflation-adjusted price: $1.83 (#20 most expensive in last 68 years)
    - Number of U.S. breweries: 133
    - U.S. beer production: 134.1 million barrels (-0.4% change from previous year)

    In a year when tobacco behemoth Philip Morris purchased Miller Brewing Co., regional brewers resorted to desperate measures to fend off brewing giants: Pittsburgh Brewing Company debuted a Gatorade-like malt liquor called Hop'n Gator. Hamm Brewing launched Right Time in two colors—red for women and gold for men. Texas’ Lone Star Brewing Company swung for the fences with its tangy Lime Lager.

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