Three quarters of a century ago America was in a state of turmoil and disarray. The Great Depression hit about five years previous, and times were tough. Though the Stock Market began to improve in early 1930, Americans were still reluctant to incur debt and declined spending coupled with the Dust Bowl drama in the south kept unemployment at an all time low. As if that weren’t enough to make a man crazy, our belt-tightening ancestors also had to deal with prohibition. I can’t imagine much worse than losing all your worldly possessions, failing to provide for your family, and having to cope with all that sober. No beer to take the edge off of stark destitution and that’s just tragic. But on April 7th of 1933 some relief finally came.
Beer was back.
A long-awaited revision to the infamous Volstead Act that had kicked off the Prohibition paved the way. Yes, the brew was just 3.2 percent alcohol, and it would be another 8 months till the 21st Amendment officially ended Prohibition and brought back more potent booze.
But on this day, it was time to party.
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia â€“ the streets were a sudsy celebration. An estimated Al Smith gets his case of Bud on April 7, 1933.1.5 million barrels of beer were drained in the first 24 hours after the modification of the act, according to the Brewers Association.
If you need a reason to drink this weekend, this one’s as good as any. We’re just three days away from the 75th anniversary of this landmark day and many brewers and restaurants are taking part in the festivities. One pub in Philadelphia is even throwing a â€œNew Beer’s Eveâ€ celebration at midnight on Sunday. So as you head out this weekend to toss back a few ice-cold brews, step back for a second and get some perspective. Yes, America is suffering economically. The sub-prime mortgage scandal kicked our ass, and we might be in a recession, but at least we’ve still got BEER!