April 7th is the anniversary of the modification of the Volstead Act, where beer was made legal again after 14 long years of National Prohibition. Well, legal up to a point: up to 3.2% alcohol by weight, to be exact. (That’s 4% by volume.) Not only that, but this year is the 75th anniversary of the Volstead Modification (and Repeal), and Anheuser-Busch is pulling out all the stops to celebrate with their "Beer is Back" campaign.
(An aside: April 7th was not the Repeal of the 18th Amendment, and thus Prohibition; that actually occurred on December 5th with the ratification of the 21st Amendment. Bob Skilnik has a good post on this. Therefore December 5th is "Repeal Day" and perhaps April 7th should be called "3.2 Day" or something similar…)
In fact, A-B sent me a press kit package for Beer is Back, consisting of a CD-ROM full of material, a bottle opener, and, oddly (but in a strangely cool way), both those small things came in a rather largish wooden crate—the type of crate, I’m guessing, that used to hold those old-timey bottles of beer. It’s really well constructed, with a hinged lid… check out my pictures:
I know I’ll be using it to store beer in, at the very least.
But anyway, Beer is Back… A-B is really promoting this and the CD-ROM includes things such as historic imagery, the audio of August Busch Jr.’s radio address from April 7, 1933, bits about history, and more. I actually find this rather cool because I just read Maureen Ogle’s terrific book Ambitious Brew earlier this year and loved it—I thought it was particularly eye-opening in regards to the big brewers that people love to loathe.
Incidentally, Ogle has been running a daily "countdown" of sorts on her blog leading up to April 7th, as well… good stuff.
So each day up through April 7th I’ll be posting a bit from the Anheuser-Busch package, some historic tidbits here and there (along with my regular blogging). Basically just cool things I find on the CD, and maybe more.
In the meantime, check out that crate.