National Beer Day in Kansas City

Picture of two spring beer creations

The only thing better than beer is... well, actually... | Photos by @bigripbrewingco + @ citybarrel

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It’s National Beer Day, Kansas City, and we’re celebrating the best way we know how — with a little history and a lot of local.

This “holiday” actually taps into US history — unlike National Cheese Pizza Day. April 7, 1933, was the day the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect, re-legalizing the making + selling of beer (under 4%) after Prohibition. However, it would be a long time before KC’s beer scene really started hopping.

KC pre-Prohibition

Before Congress made beer illegal (1920-1933), Kansas City was a brewing mecca. The Ferd. Heim Brewing Company in the East Bottoms produced 125,000 bottles a day, ultimately merging with the old Rochester Brewery to form Kansas City Breweries Company. The money was truly pouring into KC, with investors also opening Imperial Brewery (remember our abandoned castle story?).

Bubbling back up

After prohibition, KC’s beer scene was nearly non-existent. National beer brands like St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch consolidated and grew. By 1980, there were only 101 breweries in the US.

In his book, “Kansas City Beer,” Pete Dulin writes that home brewer John McDonald registered Boulevard Brewing Company in 1988, KC’s first new production brewery since Prohibition. Craft beer began to take hold. Amerisports Brew Pub opened in 2003, The Big Rip Brewing Company followed 10 years later, and Martin City Brewing Company opened its brewery a year after that.

Spring beers now tapping

Today, we can enjoy craft beer from ~50 breweries within an hour of KC. As the days warm (and patio season hits), here are a few places to get some new spring-inspired drinks.

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