Gentlemen, please remove your hats. Everyone bow your heads for a moment of silence. Today marks the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To those not well versed in constitutional history, the 18th Amendment prohibited “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.”
Yes, Prohibition. A word so vile that it is three four letter words rolled into one (that’s 12 letters for the mathematically challenged.) For the next 14 years, honest men and women had to sneak into speakeasies, smuggle liquor into the country from abroad, or hide beer-making supplies in their own home just to have a beer. It gave rise to notorious criminals and organized crime. And it essentially killed the craft beer industry in the United States, which has only just begun to flourish again. For 14 years, honest men and women had to break the law to toast the new year or a wedding. For 14 years, to the chagrin of ugly people everywhere, there were no beer goggles. No beer sold as baseball games. No Mardi Gras celebrations where wine flowed. No trips to the local pub with your buddies.
Thankfully, the nation came to its senses in 1933 and passed the 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition.
So on this day, raise a glass and a big ole’ middle finger. The Glass is to those who suffered through 14 years of dry misery, and the middle finger to those who supported prohibition, and to those who still oppose the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.