When I study history my eyes glaze over when reading dates. Just reading a date as a number on a page does nothing for me. The two things that are missing are context and visuals. Context tells the larger story of the event: “What else was happening? Was is before this? Was it after that?” Visuals are important because I'm a visual learner. Turning a boring number on a page into something I can see brings it to life.
When I was reading The Audacity of Hops (great book) the familiar glazing-over feeling came back. The story of craft beer in America is a great one. The characters, the tales, the beers. It's a story every beer drinker should learn.
While reading the book I got the idea to create this interactive American craft beer timeline:
Hopefully others find this beer timeline as useful as I have. For example, look at all the activity in 1979: Sierra Nevada opens, the first National Homebrew Conference is held, All About Beer magazine debuts, and homebrewing is legalized. Also notice “the shakeout” between 1996 and 2000 when hundreds of breweries closed.
There's not a ton on the beer timeline at the moment, but it's a work in progress. How much I add to it really depends on you guys and the interest level in developing it.
Do you have any events you think should be on the timeline? If so, leave a comment with the event and the date. Try to keep it to major events at first: Important brewery openings, significant legislation, the founding of BillyBrew – that sort of thing.
I'd love to fill this thing, so let me know whatcha got!