In 1840, Americans drank 2.5 gallons of spirits per capita, but only about a gallon of beer. But in 1896, they downed 15 gallons of beer. Pre-Prohibition beer consumption reached its high point in 1914 at 21 gallons. When the ban of drinking ended, it took the brewing industry a long time to recover, and it wasn’t until 1975 that Americans would drink as much beer as they did in 1914.