AVERAGE HOP USAGE (in pounds)
PER BARREL OF BEER BREWED IN THE US
1915 - .65
1935 - .70
1940 - .58
1945 - .43
1950 - .43
1955 - .37
1960 - .33
1965 - .29
1970 - .23
1975 - .21
1980 - .22
1985 - .21
1990 - .22
1995 – .2
2000 – .1
2005 – .1
2008 – .3
[ABOVE] Figures from
The Brewers Almanac
[BELOW] Slightly different stats from other industry sources which show the same result.
(Note - some of the decrease in the pounds per barrel of hop usage by the US brewing industry overall is also the result of new higher alpha acid strains of hops, which when used results in a beer of the same bitterness using fewer hops.)
The first modern
"wet hop" beer
Dry Hopping in the US in the pre-craft era
Return to home page
Jess Kidden's Misc. Beerpages
"In the course of this quarter of a century (from Repeal in 1933 to 1958) the character of the American beers has changed considerably. They became lighter in body and less flavorful, much paler in color, and much milder in hop character, and also more delicate in taste."
"It is remarkable that the amount of hops used per barrel is half of that used in 1934."
"There is also an unmistakable trend to a single type of American lager with special types of beer, dark beers for example, having practically disappeared in most markets."
"The decline in production of top-fermented ales has also been a notable change in American brewing practice. At the beginning of the period ale production amounted to about 15 to 20 per cent of total malt beverage output; today it is probably not more than 5 per cent."
---- 25 Years of Brewing, (1958) American Brewer magazine
Dr. Stephen Laufer and Earl D. Stewart, of Schwarz Labs., Inc
BUDWEISER's IBU's in the post-Repeal era
1946 - 20*
1970's - 17*
1980's - 14*
1990's - 12**
2012 - 7-8**
(source- *Joseph Owades and **ABTN)
Some current European versions of AB's Budweiser (supposedly brewed to same recipe) are labeled as 10.5 IBU's.
Coors Banquet and Coors Light are "well under 10" according to Coors' spokesperson, Ethan Stienstra.
"Whereas most American pilsners were hopped in the
13-17 IBU range, Bushwick pilsners* were usually in the
20-25 IBU range and were as high as 29 IBUs in the late 1950s."
"...Recent trends to lighter, milder and more widely acceptable beers have drastically reduced hopping rates compared to those of twenty or thirty years ago..."
The Practical Brewer, Second Ed.- 1977
Master Brewers Assoc. of the Americas
“The level of bitterness in American beers has decreased in the last 10 years by maybe 20 percent and the whole flavor level has come down…”
Joseph Owades, quoted in the New York Times, May 12, 1982
Mid-1970's - 22 IBU's
Late 1990's - 8-10 IBU's
Larry Sidor, Ass't Brewmaster at Olympia
later with Deschutes and now his own Crux
"American-style lagers IBU's averaged 15-20 IBU's twenty years ago to fewer than 10 today."
(2006, Siebel Institute, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal)