The Session #22: The Repeal of Prohibition

The SessionThis month’s edition of The Session is a significant one: it happens to fall on Repeal Day: the day that Prohibition in the United States was finally abolished.

Fittingly enough, this month’s topic is exactly that, and is brought to us by 21st Amendment Brewery:

In 1920, there were thousands of breweries across America making unique, hand-crafted beer. The passage of Prohibition wiped out this great culture. On December 5, 1933, the states ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment, thus ending 13 years of Prohibition in America. At the 21st Amendment Brewery, the repeal of Prohibition means we can celebrate the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.

What does the repeal of Prohibition mean to you? How will you celebrate your right to drink beer?

This is a great topic to write about and also, I’ll venture to say, a bit of a tough one. I wasn’t alive during Prohibition; to me, it exists as an historical curiosity—lamentable, mind-boggling, to be sure—but it’s nothing I have ever experienced and personalized. I know about it, but I don’t know it. Instead, I’ve been fortunate enough to have "come of age" during the American craft beer renaissance, where beer is (maybe) recession-proof and getting better year by year. What I know is a thriving beer culture, and an overall healthy and daring attitude towards beer.

Which, ironically, is the point. That’s the twist: if it weren’t for Prohibition, I don’t know that this beer culture we’re currently celebrating would exist. Certainly not the way it is now. Would it be boring? Mediocre? Would it have taken off as it is now only 50 or 75 years early?

Of course, conversely had Prohibition not been repealed at all, things would surely be much, much worse. I wouldn’t be here writing this—or writing about beer at all. Now that is something I can get my head around.

So what does Repeal mean to me… Certainly there’s homebrewing, and trying new beers and savoring old ones, and the festivals. But right now, I think the most important thing it means is that I get to write about beer. Writing this beer blog for 4+ years now has opened many more doors and exposed me to many more experiences than I would have had otherwise. Even more mind-boggling: it’s all blogging. I get to participate in and help define "beer blogging"—something that didn’t even exist less than a decade ago! That’s a hell of a thing.

I’ll celebrate my right to drink beer the way I always do—I’ll write (blog) about it.

Happy Repeal Day!