- John Viner
We knew Prohibition was crazy, but not THIS crazy!
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Prohibition was a time in American history that is really hard to get your head around. Alcohol has been ingrained in human culture as far back as in China and remains so today. Prohibition lasted from January 7th, 1920 to December 5th, 1933, with the goal being the reduction of crime and corruption. For 13 years, the government tried to keep alcohol out of American hands, but as we know, people will ALWAYS find a way to get a drink.
The Repeal of Prohibition is something we celebrate here at Epic, and this year we’ll celebrate with some loopholes and oddities about this strange period of American life that just might blow your mind.
Drinking during prohibition was actually LEGAL. The 18th amendment only banned “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” You were allowed to keep any leftover liquor from before prohibition to consume. Maybe that guy in 1919 making a bomb shelter filled with booze was onto something…
That booze cruise that you remember from Spring Break’s past? Did you think that was some marketing genius on display? Not so much. Necessity is the mother of invention and this particular invention dates back to prohibition. Boat captains in port cities would offer “cruises to nowhere” where they would take you out to international waters, allowing you to drink to your heart’s content.
Doctors could prescribe “medicinal” alcohol and pharmacies were able to sell it during prohibition. Between the years 1923 to 1931, the sales of medicinal alcohol increased a whopping 400%. Curiously, the number of pharmacists also increased during that time, who would have thought? FYI they could also prescribe cocaine once upon a time. Sacramental wine was also allowed, so we’re guessing that many people may have found religion for that very reason as well!
There was a Prohibition Party back then (and there still is today)! They are opposed to sale or consumption of alcohol and of course, at the core of the temperance movement. We all know the Republican Party represented by an elephant, and the Democratic Party represented by a donkey. However, I’m sure many of you haven’t heard of the Prohibition Party that was prominent during this time. They chose to be represented by a camel, since it only drinks water. The party is actually still around today and continue to oppose alcohol. Their 2012 presidential candidate garnered. Their 2020 Presidential Candidate was Phil Collins, but not the one you thought of just now. Their Phil Collins is from IL, the other one is from Genesis.
1933 wasn’t the end of Prohibition everywhere – While the 18th amendment was repealed in 1933, Mississippi held their ground. You couldn’t actually get a legal drink there until 1966. There are still dry counties throughout the state (other states as well) and as an Ole Miss grad, I can assure you that the struggle can be very, VERY real.
On December 5th, if you pour yourself a drink, make sure to raise your glass to the 21st Amendment and the Repeal of Prohibition!