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Happy 95th Birthday, Prohibition

Yesterday marked the 95th anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition. Can you imagine the horror? (Maybe some of you can!) Truth be told, most New York drinkers didn’t pay too much attention to this law and were able to acquire their libations quite easily. But the unsung heroes, the brewers of the 20s, had an extremely hard time making ends meet. Some survived by using their machinery to make other products, like soda and ice cream, some survived by producing near-beer, and some just had to close their doors forever.

We at the New York Beer and Brewery Tour love this article at It’s a lovely tribute to the old Bronx breweries and includes some great historical pictures of old-timey Bronx breweries and underground beer-storage caves. (And a pretty sexy ad from 1904.)

The effects of Prohibition on the United States are numerous; some of them are awful, some hilarious. (For instance, there was a loophole in the law stating that wine could be used for religious purposes, so NYC’s rabbi population increased by a tremendous amount.)

In any case, We encourage all of you to raise a (legal) glass in honor of this dramatic era. And don’t forget to toast FDR, who shut it all down as he famously proclaimed, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

By Marshall Stevenson

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