The need for mechanical refrigeration to achieve these colder temperatures, at least for year-round brewing, meant that commercial production of lagers became widespread only in the late ninteenth century. "By the 1870s breweries had become the largest users of commercial refrigeration units, though some still relied on harvested ice" ("Refrigeration").
Back to the Wikipedia article on Lager, a reader asked me about this curious sentence: "As a new variety of beer, its production faced opposition from established brewers as well as the Catholic Church" (my emphasis).
Huh? Why the heck would the Catholic Church be opposed to the brewing of lager beers? Well, there's no knowing exactly why the original author put that in, but I suspect that this is just an example of free-floating anti-Catholic bias out there—we all know that the Catholic Church is the great enemy of free scientific inquiry and technological progress. Right? Don't we?
(Well, lots of people might "know" it, but that doesn't make it so. For the other side of that coin, see How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, at least for starters.)
Thanks to the editing feature on Wikipedia, the sentence now reads: "As a new variety of beer, its production faced opposition from established brewers." Because the Catholic Church doesn't have a dog in this hunt. Drink all the lagers you want—pilsner, bock, doppelbock, schwartzbier, oktoberfestbier.....as long as they're not just the "tinted waters" that pass for beer here in the United States. (You know, we really should see if we can get our beer-loving German Pope to oppose those, just on principle.)