Why Drinking Alcohol Was Legal During Prohibition

Posted by Wine Gourmet on

99 years ago on this fateful day, January 17th, Prohibition officially began. Prohibition is one of those things we’re all a little happy we missed. I mean... who in the world thought it was a good idea to ban alcohol? Now that's just foolish.

Most of us think we know all about Prohibition after our grade school history classes, but there's a common misconception around the era - it wasn't actually illegal to drink alcohol during Prohibition. 

In December of 1917 Congress proposed the 18th amendment, which would prohibit the manufacture, transportation, and sale, of “intoxicating liquors”. The amendment was approved by all required states on January 16th, 1919 and the United States officially became a dry country on January 17th, 1920.

The only legal way to drink? If you’d spent the last year stock piling, you were legally allowed to consume any alcohol already in your possession. Some wealthy drinkers amassed cellars and bought out liquor stores to ensure they would survive Prohibition without bootlegging or frequenting speakeasies. As long as you had the means before January 17th, 1920 and consumed it within your own home or a friend's, you were free to legally consume the beverage.

By 1933 the country had enough and the 21st amendment repealed the 18th, restoring joy to the citizens of these United States. Three cheers for the end of Prohibition! Today we raise a cold one to the brave souls that survived those disastrous years. 


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