After three decades of competition and consolidation, the American beer scene hit rock bottom in the late 1970s. By 1977, less than 50 independent brewing companies remained, operating under 100 breweries across the country. A year later the FTC produced a lengthy report on the state of the brewing industry, predicting further consolidation and dominance by four to five national brands in the 1980s. While that largely did come to pass, the FTC's forecast obviously missed the dramatic turnaround that the nation's craft brewers would unleash -- which is hardly surprising given what industry looked like at the time, as illustrated by our interactive map.
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