Okey dokey. This is what I get for being lazy (see comment from me on earlier post.) Regarding the (recent) history of imported beer in the U.S: I was wrong in my earlier post. Here are some accurate numbers (and thanks again to Jess for calling me out on this): In 1983 (close enough to 1984, right?), import beers accounted for just under three percent of total sales in the United States.
What I misremembered was the growth rate, as opposed to the share of total beer sales. Starting in the 1950s, sales of imports rose year after year, often as much as nine or ten percent at a time when domestic sales were either stagnant or rose only a half percent or so. In 1982, for example, import sales rose 10.2% higher than in 1981.
It has to be the special mental attitude of the consumer of imported beers,” noted the president of Grolsch Importers, Inc.. (*1)
He was feeling good about the world: sales of Grolsch had soared 20% in 1982. Sales of Heinken, in contrast, had only gone up eleven percent. No small beer, that number: Heinken had commandeered more than 40% of the American import market. Prosit!
*1: Ross Heuer, “’82 Was Another Growth Year for the Leading Imports,” Brewers Digest 58, no. 3 (March 1983): 12.