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Alcoholic Beverage Industry

General Resources

The best wines, liquors, ales & lager beer, we are selling here, L.N. Rosenthal, c1871. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This section is devoted to resources that are not focused on one specific type of liquor. Over time some more general titles may have changed and become publications devoted to one particular product and those would be in the sections covering specific alcohol types. Also, because consumption statistics are important in understanding the history of the industry, we have included those here.

There are a few trends to mention. First, there is some consolidation within the industry to fill niches in their portfolios and enhance networks; Diago, Plc is the most notable. Second, is the idea of the “sober curious” a term coined in late 2018 by Ruby Warrington and "Dry January". Other trends are best researched using news and trade literature sources.

It is not uncommon for there to be state and regional literature produced for and by, the companies, retailers, or wholesalers. Those looking for information on the trade may find these publications useful but it is not possible to give a full accounting of those in this guide. However, in some cases those titles have been included as an illustration of the type of material or as a way to understand the industry as a whole (e.g. California and wine).

Law on the federal level plays an important part in the industry. For example, in 1890 federal law (passed 51 Stat. 161; June 18, 1890) was changed to permit the bottling and production of beer in the same location. Then there was the passage of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act which established national Prohibition, the 1933 passage of the Cullen-Harrison Act (48 Stat 16) which amended the Volstead Act, and Roosevelt’s signing of Presidential Proclamation 2065 that led to the end of Prohibition with the passage of the 21st Amendment. Because of the regulatory issues - both current and historical, some legal literature has been included, but if you are interested in looking at current law and the regulations see Title 27 in both the United States Code and in the Code of Federal Regulations.

General Information & History

The following materials from the Library's collections examine general information and the history of the alcohol and beverage industry. The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.