This article reviews beer production, consumption and the industrial organization of breweries throughout history. Monasteries were the centers of the beer economy in the early Middle Ages. Innovation and increased demand later induced the growth of commercial breweries. Globalization and scientific discoveries transformed the beer industry and increased competition from the 16th
through the 19th century. The 20th century was characterized by dramatic (domestic and international) consolidation, major shifts in consumption patterns, and the re-emergence of small breweries.