"When I sell liquor, it's called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it's called hospitality."
What is it about wanting something you know you can't have? And does it apply in every aspect of our lives? Prohibition was, as it is often referred, a noble experiment. It consisted of a nearly 14-year period from 1920-1933 where the manufacturing and selling of alcohol became illegal. Which begs the question: would the Roaring Twenties have been just as roaring had the Eighteenth Amendment never been established?
In the earlier years of the 20th century, more than just the U.S. experienced this enforcement of abstaining from alcohol. The Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway and the Hungarian Soviet Republic are just a few countries who also nobly attempted this. Meanwhile, distilleries and breweries in the areas surrounding the U.S. flourished. Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean were having visiting Americans consume their alcohol or were exporting it illegally to the U.S. After a while, alcohol was abundantly arriving into the country under the radar. This is where one of Chicago's most notorious gangsters also flourished.
Bigger cities were completely defying the new laws set in place, brewing and distilling alcohol in homes, utilizing rumrunners, and opening speakeasies. Enter, Al Capone. With hundreds of men at his beck and call and money to go around, Capone and other gangsters alike were able to continuously grow illegal liquor rings with little-to-no consequences. Prohibition agents were being paid very little, which made bribery a most useful weapon for the new breed of criminals.
While the physical consumption of alcohol was never a violation of the original amendment, the country spent a decade looking for loopholes and blatantly ignoring laws. Even considerably 'good' people were breaking laws. The stock market crashed at the tail end of the century and the Great Depression hit the country like a ton of bricks. People needed to work and the U.S. needed to get on its feet again. A few years later, at the end of 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, making the 18th Amendment the first and only Amendment to this day to be repealed.
Think about where we would be if it weren't for that 21st Amendment. In my opinion, there'd be a lot more angry people, more speakeasies in a 2-mile radius than you could count, and, the brewery responsible for creating my go-to summer beverage would have had to come up with a different name:21st Amendment Brewery's Hell or High Watermelon.
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