Monday, April 7, 2008

New Beers Eve

Horay! Prohibition finally ended … 75 years ago.

To modern Americans it seems almost unfathomable that for thirteen years (1920 – 1933) you couldn’t legally drink alcohol and it wasn’t readily available. It would have really sucked to be 17 years old (was the drinking age 18 back then?) in 1919 finally looking forward to be able to sit down at a bar and order a cold beer AND bam out of nowhere you have to wait until you’re 30 until you can buy beer. Its no wonder the Great Depression occurred during this period of time.

Honestly, Prohibition put the brewing industry in a bad place. My understanding is that before prohibition in the late 1800’s there was close to 1,200 active breweries or brewpubs in the US. After prohibition and up until the late seventies (and maybe early eighties) there were only about 60 breweries or brew pubs in the US (I understand that just recently we have finally eclipsed that 1,200 mark set in the late 1800’s). This is really where the macro brewing companies like Anheuser-Busch and Coors established their dominance over the American beer drinker’s palate. Despite making great strides in the last decade, it’s still very hard for small craft brewers to convince the American public that their beer is far better than the majority of the stuff put out by the macro chains. The macro chains have massive advertising budgets (literally billions of dollars) whose sole purpose is to convince you Joe or Jane American that their beer is cool and good tasting.

I’ll get off my soapbox for the rest of this post and get back to talking about prohibition. Anyone with a computer can wiki prohibition in the US and get the facts. The one thing that I really thought was interesting was that repealing prohibition was one FDR’s ideas. He thought that repealing prohibition would be a good way to help jumpstart the ailing economy. In fact during the first 48 hours of repeal, $25M was spent on beer. This had the effect of helping not just breweries, but also farmers, glassmakers, and the trucking industry. Additionally, the government realized that this sort of thing could be taxed and would be a great revenue stream for the federal government. Apparently, the first day of beer sales generated $7.5M in tax revenue for the US Treasury. The more and more I hear about FDR makes me think that he was a PHD economist (truthfully he went to Harvard and studied law at Columbia, not too shabby) and someone I’d love to have a beer with.

So tonight when you sit down for dinner hoist a beer (hopefully a craft beer or a home brew) and say thanks to ‘ole FDR.

Other News

M and I bottled our Baltic porter yesterday (Blackheart Porter). At room temperature and noncarbonated the sample that I had was fantastic. I think you guys are really going to like this one. 2 weeks and it will be drinkable.

Your Hero,


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