Cheers to Repeal!Dec 05, 2013 Comments (0)
If you’re a fan of craft beer, we hope you appreciate just how good you have it these days (And if you’re not a fan of craft beer, stop by the brewery and we’ll work on fixing that!). With the way things are right now, you can walk through many cities and find a different brewery on every block. In our own small corner of Eugene, we’re a mere stone’s throw from a handful of great breweries and other fermentation-based crafted beverages! I think we can all agree that it’s certainly not hard to track down a pint of good beer when you want it.
BUT it wasn’t always this good!
When Prohibition was enacted in 1920, breweries across the country were forced to shut down. Which is why, today, on the 80th anniversary of the Repeal of that super annoying Prohibition thing, we CELEBRATE!
So, HAPPY REPEAL DAY! (This is where you all raise your glasses and give us a virtual cheers for legal beers!)
It may have taken a few decades for craft breweries to work their way back into our communities, but thanks to some persistent home brewers, beer enthusiasts, and small breweries, a craft beer resurgence began to take place in the late 1970s, pushing us toward the craft beer paradise that we currently live and drink in!
As you toast your friends to a very Happy Repeal Day today, here’re a few Prohibition conversation starters you can pass around over a frosty beer!
1) Before Prohibition, in 1873, the United States had 4,131 breweries! And Americans were consuming 20 gallons of beer a year by 1914. Although many of these breweries started to close before Prohibition officially started, this law was the final nail in the coffin for many breweries around the US.
2) While nearly 800 breweries opened as soon as the law was repealed, most of the small ones couldn’t survive in the same market as the big guys, especially as World War II began and grain was rationed for the military. By 1978, only 42 breweries were producing beer in this country. Today, there are over 2,700 breweries (CHEERS to that, right?!).
3) Nearly all of the breweries that managed to stay open after Prohibition were producing a very similar style of beer: a pale lager, light in body and low in hops and made with low-cost ingredients like corn and rice. Thanks to a law signed by President Carter in 1978 legalizing home brewing, home brewers and small breweries with a thirst for MORE styles were able to start brewing more and more kinds of beer! And obviously, we Americans liked what they were making quite a bit and supported thousands of small breweries that have been able to open in the last few decades!
4) The 18th Amendment (the one that started the pesky prohibition era in 1920) is the ONLY constitutional amendment that has ever been repealed by another amendment.
5) Some historians credit a few staples in American culture as the result of prohibition and its repeal, including:
- Mixed-gender drinking-since underground speakeasies ended the era of saloons that banned women.
- NASCAR-since people smuggled moonshine and corn whiskey in cars that could outrun police. These daredevils started racing on the weekends and turned this competition into an official league after prohibition was repealed.
- Mixed drinks-because it was easier to make and transport bathtub gin than beer. This concoction was so foul that speakeasy owners started creating mixed cocktails to cover the taste!
- Booze cruises-where Americans could escape the law by fleeing to British and French cruise lines that still allowed alcohol and wisely increased their USA pickups.
HAPPY REPEAL DAY, beer friends! Go forth and celebrate! Don't forget the beer!