America has done plenty of things right. Tater tots, democracy, and Kelly Clarkson are all pretty impressive, for example. That being said, we’ve made some mistakes too, and none of those was more egregious than the passage of the dreaded 18th Amendment, more commonly known as the dawn of Prohibition.
While this would have been super unfun under any circumstances, those zoot-suit rioters of the 1920s had the particular misfortune of having to suffer through the Debbie Downer that was the Great Depression with no options to alleviate the crushing sobriety of daily life. If they wanted to party they could eat a raw potato or play hopscotch, both of which suck.
At some point, some people got together and said, “Life ain’t great. We’d really like to get drunk,” and the beginning of the beginning of the end of Prohibition was upon us. Fast forward a day or two, and you’ll find good old FDR (a man whose weight-gain plans were rumored to include drinking massive quantities of egg nog) signing the Cullen-Harrison Act into law.
In a nutshell, this provided for the sale of 4% ABV booze to be federally allowed starting April 7, 1933. While that’s a far cry from the delicious (and deliciously potent) beer we take for granted now, it was infinitely better than trying to mainline mouthwash (which would have fallen well below the 0.5% ABV that was allowed under the Volstead Act, the underpinning legislation that provided a Prohibition framework). The people rejoiced and said something to the effect of, “Hell yeah!”
April 6th, 1933, was an electric night. People’s taste buds were atingle in anticipation of the sweet nectar of full-fledged beer that would soon dance across their tongues for the first time in 13 years. This was their victory, the moment they had been waiting for, their New Beer’s Eve. The thirsty would be quenched, the sober would be drunk, and except for various wars and other small matters, nothing would ever be bad again.
So this Friday, April 6th, grab a growler of something extra-special, gather around with some friends, and have a toast to remember New Beer’s Eve and those unfortunately thirsty souls who helped restore liquid sanity to our booze loving nation. Now that’s a reason to drink!
[techtags:Repeal Day, Prohibition, New Beer’s Eve]