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Alcoholic Beverage Industry

This guide focuses on the alcoholic beverage industry in the United States. While there is a strong emphasis on sources that help trace the history and development of the industry, we also include sources for those interested in the industry today.


Koerner & Hayes, lithographer. Have Another. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This guide covers the alcoholic beverage industry in the U.S. as a whole—it does not focus on specific states, regions, and cities. However, a sampling of magazines and books with a local perspective have been included, particularly if understanding the industry as a whole means looking at local sources with a specific geographic focus. The history of the alcoholic beverage industry also includes the effects of government policy, and can help researchers understand why the industry operates as it does today.

When focusing your research on local industries and companies, don't limit your research to trade literature—also look at materials from local and state historical societies. These materials may include published articles about the general history of the industry as well as stories on specific companies. The most obvious example of this is the California wine industry—understanding the wine industry in the United States means also studying the industry in California.

We do include few local history books and articles as a way to illustrate the local nature of the industry. To find items of a more local nature, there are many examples searches (using subject headings) in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Many of these headings are flexible and can include a state name in the subject string.

While this guide focuses primarily on the United States, some trade publications and statistical sources are not limited to the United States. If you are looking for literature that covers other countries, the Library has received many publications that cover other countries which can be found by searching our online catalog.

Lastly, while this guide is mostly about liquor as an industry and not the science, some scientific and technical aspects regarding alcohol have been included.

About the Business Section

Part of the Science & Business Reading Room at the Library of Congress, the Business Section is the starting point for conducting research at the Library of Congress in the subject areas of business and economics. Here, reference specialists in specific subject areas of business assist patrons in formulating search strategies and gaining access to the information and materials contained in the Library's rich collections of business and economics materials.