The Rough and Tumble Beer Industry in the 80’s

beerThe overarching theme of the beer industry in the 1980s was one of consolidation, as regional breweries (like Strohs) were subsumed by national conglomerates (like Anheuser-Busch and Miller). The foreign import invasion was just beginning and the craft boom of the 21st century was just a twinkle in a frat boy’s eye. Unsurprisingly, the industry attracted manly men and the good old boys played rough. A sales rep in a competitive market could expect any number of dirty tricks, or maybe he would just get his ass kicked. Thrillist had the brilliant idea to get some war stories and recruited five retirees with “over 100 years combined experience in American beer marketing, sales, and distribution.” As one of them said, “You were expected to be a comedian, mathematician, and a functional alcoholic.” That’s the makings for oral history gold.

An oral history of the (savage, sexy, semi-sexist) beer industry in the ’80s, 8.9.14