Imagine the federal government outlawing the production of your favorite beer and going an entire decade without a single drop of a cold, flavorful Budweiser. Unless you didn’t mind the risk of being thrown in jail, visiting a speakeasy—and being granted access—would’ve been the only way to get your hands on a cold one. Unfortunately, this was the reality for many Americans during the Prohibition Era that lasted between 1920 to 1933.


During the late 1800s, the Prohibition Movement began to pick up steam after many organizations declared that alcohol was basically a threat to the nation and the cause of all violence and crime. The United States Congress ratified the 18th Amendment—the Volstead Act—during early 1919, which prohibited the production, transportation and selling of all liquor, effective January 1, 1920. However, nowhere in the legislation did it explicitly state that it was illegal to consume alcohol. Now that’s what we call a loophole! Americans that stashed away their favorite wine, beer or spirits before Prohibition came into effect were able to legally drink it at home.


During Prohibition, there was a rise in organized crime, the bootlegging of sketchy alcohol, speakeasies and other illicit activities. This was the era that gave rise to the mafia across the United States and the time when the infamous gangster from Chicago, Al Capone, made more than $60 million from bootlegging operations.


Once Prohibition proved not to be an effective deterrent to crime, Congress finally introduced the 21st Amendment to effectively overturn the 18th Amendment. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, thus repealing the Volstead Act and 18th Amendment, effective December 5, 1933—the day we all know as Repeal Day or National Beer Day.


Today, we can simply take a stroll down to our favorite convenient or liquor store and buy a cold 12-pack of the King of Beers, Budweiser, without being a Tony Montana look-alike giving us grief.


As President Roosevelt famously said, “What America needs now… is a drink!” Cheers to the repeal of Prohibition! This Bud’s for 1933.


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