The Prohibition Party may have once been an American political party determined to stop the sale and consumption of alcohol, but Saturday night it was a nostalgic, 1920s-themed party in London. Partygoers dressed in Prohibition-era costumes, danced the Charleston, and played roulette while surrounded by the art deco Bloomsbury Ballroom.
Who knew we had Jimmy Carter to thank for honey-orange wheat ale? With an orange slice.
In 1978, Carter changed the post-Prohibition law that prohibited home beer brewing while permitting home wine making. The law instantly made it legal for each household to produce 200 gallons of tax-exempt beer each year. Oh. I thought it was each day. Anyway! Smart move, nonetheless, as the amendment effectively ended the pale-shaded, Schlitz-filled days of the '70s.
Though we can credit Carter for the wave of his pen, the born-again Christian had no interest (that I know of) in the legislation. A supplier of beer-making equipment in Rochester, NY, solicited his congressman to legalize home brewing. The bill passed through the House and Senate without fanfare and was signed by the president without remark. In fact, 24 years later, the New York congressman could not recall the bill when he was asked to discuss his role in jump-starting the "American beer renaissance."
Yet today more than 90 percent of small breweries are said to have roots in home brewing, proving how vital the bill was. So while Carter may have done little for the economy during the late '70s, he did wonders for the fruit, honey, and chocolate beers of today.
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This week marked the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. Before then it had become illegal to sell and consume alcohol in the United States. I can't imagine living in an era where I'd have to find an underground bar in order to get my drink on — although the mystique that goes with that idea does sound quite fun — and am glad to know it was repealed. However, before we raise a pint of our favorite brews, let's see how much you know about prohibition.
On today's date 88 years ago, Congress debated the controversial Volstead Act, which would ban the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The act was passed 20 days later on October 28th, and Prohibition began.
Although bars were closed and Americans were forbidden to drink liquor, many people found ways around these strict laws. My great-grandfather was one of them and he secretly produced his own version of gin in his bathtub! According to my mother, he stored the bottles of bootleg gin in a covert compartment underneath his baby's crib.
I'm somewhat rebellious and like to think I would have made my own alcohol if I had lived during this time. What about you? Would you have made your own alcohol or snuck into a speakeasy? Can you imagine a world where cocktails are banned???