25 Interesting Facts about US Prohibition

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1Prohibition Bureau

Prohibition Bureau

In an attempt to enforce Prohibition, the Prohibition Bureau began adding poison to industrial alcohol to prevent its consumption, killing between 10,000 and 50,000 people. This was supported by people like Wayne Wheeler, who argued that the victims had committed suicide by breaking the law.

2. During Prohibition in the US, it was illegal to buy or sell alcohol, but it was not illegal to drink it. Some wealthy people bought out entire liquor stores before it passed to ensure they still had alcohol to drink.

3. During Prohibition, moonshiners would wear "cow shoes." The fancy footwear left hoofprints instead of human shoe prints, helping distillers and smugglers evade police.

4. During prohibition, grape farmers would make semi-solid grape concentrates called wine bricks, which were then sold with the warning "After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine."

5. During the US prohibition era, medicinal liquor was fraudulently exploited in many scams. One doctor was cited for writing 475 prescriptions for whiskey in one day. Charles R. Walgreen, the founder of Walgreen's pharmacies expanded from 20 stores to a staggering 525 during the 1920s.

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During Prohibition, cocktails became popular as juices were added to bootleg liquor to disguise the taste of ingredients like a dead rat and wood tar.

7. Kansas City blatantly ignored Prohibition. You could buy booze a few blocks down from the police station. They got away with it scot-free for all 13 years (1920 to 1933).

8. During Prohibition, Pabst Brewing Company stopped making beer and switched to cheese production, selling more than 8 million pounds of Pabst-ett Cheese. When Prohibition ended, the company went back to selling beer, and the cheese line was sold to Kraft.

9. During prohibition, Congress had their own bootlegger (George Cassiday) so senators and congressmen could still drink alcohol.

10. In 1920, during US Prohibition, a Johns Hopkins psychologist conducted a study to see whether or not people are better at playing Darts while drunk. The government allowed him to purchase 34 gallons of whiskey, as scientific research was a valid exception to Prohibition.

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11Theodore Geisel

Theodore Geisel

During Prohibition, Theodore Geisel took up the pseudonym Dr. Seuss after being banned from his college humor magazine for drinking gin on campus.

12. A "blind pig" was a lower-class establishment that sold alcohol during Prohibition (in contrast to a higher-class "speakeasy"). The owner would charge customers to see an attraction (such as an animal) and then serve a "complimentary" alcoholic beverage, thus circumventing the law.

13. During Prohibition in the United States, Winston Churchill referred publicly to the Constitutional amendment banning alcohol as "an affront to the whole history of mankind."

14. Prohibition agent Izzy Einstein bragged that he could find liquor in any city in under 30 minutes. In Chicago it took him 21 minutes. In Atlanta 17 minutes, and Pittsburgh just 11 minutes. But New Orleans set the record of 35 seconds. Einstein asked his taxi driver where to get a drink, and the driver handed him one.

15. During prohibition, Herbert Hoover would go to the Belgian embassy to have martinis, as it was not illegal to possess alcohol on foreign soil.

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16Malt extract

Malt extract

During Prohibition, many major breweries turned to sell malt extract for use in baking bread and desserts. It was also hop flavored. One city reported enough was sold each week to make 16 loaves of bread for every man, woman, and child.

17. The movement for Prohibition led to American beer-makers moving towards lighter, blander beers in the early part of the 20th century as they tried to emphasize that beer was healthier than whiskey

18. During Prohibition, bootlegger William S. McCoy became famous for never watering down his beer or booze as opposed to many who did so to stretch profits. As a result, people starting calling his products, "the real McCoy."

19. During prohibition, Winston Churchill received a prescription for alcohol when he visited the United States, his Doctor writing, "The quantity [prescribed] is naturally indefinite."

20. During the prohibition era, the Long Island Iced Tea originated in the United States because when it was all combined it looked like a non-alcoholic iced tea.

21Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith

During Prohibition, federal agents Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith disguised themselves as grave-diggers, football players, Russian women, rabbis, judges, and plumbers (among many others). Together, they seized more than 5 million bottles of illicit booze and made 4,932 arrests.

22. During Prohibition, cases of liver cirrhosis decreased by almost two-thirds.

23. During Prohibition juries used Jury Nullification to acquit in up to 60% of cases, contributing to repealing Prohibition laws.

24. Carry Nation was a Prohibition activist who went into saloons with a hatchet, ripping kegs open and scolding drinkers.

25. During prohibition, smugglers devised a cable system under the Detroit River to send “torpedoes” full of alcohol across the border from Canada.

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