First founded in the mid-19th century before booming in the era of Reconstruction, Kansas City, Missouri, isn’t your typical midwestern American city. Kansas City’s boozy history dates all the way back to the Prohibition era. After the Volstead Act was passed in 1919, Kansas City largely ignored prohibition. The city’s speakeasies and jazz clubs flourished during the era as a result. The neighborhood of 18th Street & Vine is now internationally recognized as a historical landmark for jazz music and Black culture.
The first-ever brewery in Kansas City, the Muehlebach Brewing Company, opened in 1869. The brewery, which became locally known as the “Beer Castle”, was sold to Schlitz Brewing Co. in 1956 and shuttered two decades later. By the late 20th Century, the first craft breweries in Kansas City started popping up. More than 20 independent breweries and brewpubs now operate in and around Kansas City, with more yet to come. Vine Street Brewing Co., which has announced plans to open in 2022, will be Kansas City’s first Black-owned brewery when it pours its first pint.