The repeal of Prohibition in December, 1933, brought hope for a brighter and happier future at a time when jobs were scarce under the Great Depression. Providentially, Arizona’s brewing industry was reinvigorated. Nonetheless, only one brewery, the Arizona Brewing Company in Phoenix, was able to succeed and flourish. A number of breweries, such as the Tri-State Brewing Company in Glendale, made an attempt but fizzled prior to opening.
Over the years, the Arizona Brewing Company experienced numerous obstacles, ownership changes, brand conversions, production difficulties with World War II, unprecedented expansion, and a pride in knowing its A-1 brand had become the state’s top-selling beer during the 1950s.With each hurdle, it found ways to emerge stronger as a consummate regional brewery.However, the one barrier it could not overcome was the “chain brewery” concept which had been a growing trend in the brewing industry.By the 1960s, a record number of regional breweries closed due to consolidation as larger corporate breweries proved more powerful and ruthless in their desire to outsell competitors.
Corporate breweries eventually overtook the Arizona Brewing Company: Carling in 1964, National in 1966, the merging of Carling-National in 1974, and ultimately G. Heileman in 1979.Yet, throughout each change, its workers, who referred to themselves as the “A-1 Family,” remained relatively intact. The brewery’s closing in 1985 brought an end to the most prolific brewing venture ever to operate in the state.
Since the 1960s, the rise of lighter and less compelling beers became the trend in the industry. Fewer breweries produced beer although the volume of beer rose through the continued efforts of Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Coors, and other corporate giants.By 1980, fewer than 100 breweries were operating in the United States. It became a dull and cheerless era for the brewing industry.
1993 ~ A-1 Brewery Looking South Just Prior to Demolition.