In the United States common term for low-alcohol and alcoholic Beverages. The origin lies in the 1819 adopted by the 18th Amendment, which in the so-called "National Prohibition Act" all drinks with more than 0.5% alcohol content as "intoxicating beverages" defined as: The act defined intoxicating liquor as any beverage containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume and supersedes all existing prohibition laws in effect. This was the basis for the valid from 1920 to 1933 prohibition (Prohibition).
The law thus already affected beer (with an average of 4 to 5% vol). The big breweries changed and produced a malt beverage, which could not be called "Malt Beer" because the use of the term "beer" at the time was basically forbidden. Officially, it was called "Cereal Beverage" (cereal drink). As a trivial name sat down "Near Beer" (by analogy, "almost like a beer").
Before Prohibition, there were several thousand breweries in the United States. Of these, only large breweries remained after 1933, dealing with the production of Near Beer held above water. Famous producers with their brands were Anheuser-Busch with "Bevo", Budweiser with "Near Beer", Pabst Brewing Company with "Pablo", straw with "Lux-o", Miller with "Vivo" and Joseph Schlitz with "Famo".