Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | April 6, 2013

Happy New Beer’s Eve!!

I hear ya, fellas!

“I recommend…the passage of legislation…to legalize the manufacture and sale of beer.”—President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all-ages…I hope you’re ready to crack open a cold one, because today marks 80 years since the first New Beer’s Eve.

What is New Beer’s Eve you ask? Well by golly, let me tell you…

In 1933, Prohibition was on its way out and everyone knew it, it just needed to be made official. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had made it one of his missions to repeal Prohibition as a means of pumping money back into the economy, because — as it turns out — people really like to drink and they’ll gladly throw their money away to do so.

Although Prohibition wouldn’t be officially repealed until December 5 (aka: my birthday!) of that year, the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law by good ole FDR on March 23, 1933. The Cullen-Harrison Act allowed for the legal sale of beer that adhered to keeping it alcohol content at 3.2% or lower; as compared to 5% ABV which was considered full-strength beer at the time. Regardless, it was a step up from the basically alcohol-free “near beer” that had been sold since 1920.

Political red tape being what it is, there was an undoubtedly agonizing 15 day wait between Roosevelt putting paper to pen and the Cullen-Harrison Act going into effect.

Sweet, sweet ambrosia!

13 Godforsaken Years!

That meant that at the stroke of midnight on April 7, 1933 people could legally purchase beer for the first time in 13 years.

Naturally, peeps were pretty freakin’ stoked about this. In anticipation, people lined up in the streets outside of pubs and breweries the night before as they prepared to get their hands on some sweet, sweet watery beer as soon as the law would allow.

As such, the sixth of April would become known as New Beer’s Eve.

Once midnight rolled around, all of those folks who had been hanging in the streets descended upon their local watering holes and ran most of them dry by noon the next day. On that first day alone, 1.5 MILLION barrels of beer were consumed by the ravenous hordes. You’ve really gotta love what people can accomplish when they put their whole heart (and liver) into something.

In addition to a whole lot of people getting reacquainted with the phenomenons that are the “beer buzz” and the “hangover” there was another added bonus; Roosevelt’s plan to get the money flowing actually worked out pretty well. By simply making crappy light beer available to the masses he was able to pump $25 million into the economy in just 48 hours. In modern day dollars and adjusting for inflation that’s, like, $85 bajillionty…probably.

If you want to celebrate New Beer’s Eve — before celebrating National Beer Day tomorrow — you don’t need to wait until midnight, my friends! That’s right, thanks to FDR, you can have a beer right now (unless you’re, like, at work, or driving, or underage, or have a drinking problem—in which case, you should probably find some different reading material) and I highly recommend that you do!!

Raise a pint, can, bottle, or other beverage vessel of your choosing to President Roosevelt tonight and have a Happy New Beer’s Eve!!


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