Bartenders, especially those involved in the “cocktail” world, understand the significant impact that Prohibition has had on the industries surrounding alcoholic beverages. Many consumers, however, are unaware of that impact. National Prohibition was rooted in political and religious belief systems, that sought to temper a vice, and legislate morality to a nation. Any time a product, that is in high consumer demand, is made illegal, a black market is created. Crime increases, violence increases, and eventually, the public demands action. It didn’t take long for the ridiculous idea to be repealed, and when Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933, the nation joined together in a collective sigh of relief, and a toast to better times ahead.
Treatises have been written, documentaries have been filmed, and many a scholar has spoken about the nearly decade and a half that The United States of America suffered under the tyranny of Prohibition. What is sorely missing, however, is a definitive study of the decades following its repeal. And, maybe, that is because not much is ever said, outside of our small circle of bartenders, about what life in this industry was like before Prohibition was passed.