The history of beer has some unusual twists, one of which we celebrate today. The back story:
Once upon a time, in a United States far away from today’s modern sensibilities, Prohibition was passed. Over President Wilson‘s veto, I might add. The time was 1920, when the first radio stations were beginning to broadcast to crystal receivers in selected locations in America. (We can either blame radio on the lack of alcohol, or Prohibition on those damned radio wave thingies; your pick.)
Overnight, drink prices rose by a factor of five. No, Prohibition didn’t stop drinking, or even slow down it’s production much. It did open the door for organized crime, though, culminating in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929. That horrific, violent act turned public opinion against Prohibition. It was too late to kill organized crime, but at least the general populace got a bit of sanity. The problem wasn’t alcohol per se.
And so the 18th Amendment began to be dismantled, first by the signing of an amendment to the Volstead Act that allowed 3.2% (or weaker) beer. President Roosevelt signed that law, the Cullen-Harrison Act, on March 22, 1933, and it became law.
On April 7, 1933. Hence, National Beer Day.
Roosevelt is supposed to have said, “I think now would be a good time for a beer,” after he signed the bill. Later that year, the whole amendment to the Constitution was repealed and Prohibition was over.
So hoist a cold one and celebrate the end of a dreary time in America, and the start of the New Age of Beer. By the way, April 5 is International Beer Day; I can’t find out why, even with all the Intertubes stuff out there. April 6 is also unofficially International Hangover Day. Surprise, surprise…
So go get a six of your favorite brewskis and kick back. Remember to drink responsibly, and never have more that three open at any one time.
Here are some items that have their origins in beer, one way or another. Do you know how these phrases or activities are connected to beer? Give’em some thought while you’re refreshing yourself:
- Wet your whistle.
- Mind your P’s and Q’s.
- The honemoon.
- Rule of thumb.
There are so many great quotes around beer that I’ll only leave you with a couple. Plato once said, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” I couldn’t agree more! And remember Bogart‘s famous saying: “The problem with the world is that everyone is a few beers behind.” Or the one I saw on a t-shirt last evening: “I drink to make other people interesting.” Whatever your reason, enjoy some suds this evening! And avoid overdoing it; there’s no National Hangover Day holiday at your place of work…
Enjoy the (Life-Affirming, Thirst-Quenching) Heat!
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