The funnest thing about researching the end of prohibition is something that you are passionate about is covered much like the oil spell is today. May 11, 1933 is a great example of this, a little less than half of the first page was dedicated completely to beer. And why not? That was the day that brought back beer. Granted, it was only 3.2 beer. But after 15 years of prohibition, you have to start somewhere. It was the prominent story of the story of the day. The other pages of the paper also had a few small items thrown in too. Like this one.
Beer War Brings Price to 3 Cents
Chicago May 11 – In one district of Chicago beer may be had for three cents a stein.
A price selling war brought the new low price.
I imagine the above beer was Old Style. Back in the day, I used to buy and bring that back by the 30 packs. It cost only $12 for thirty beers!
There are also more involved articles which I plan to share with you over the next few days. The article below is from the AP and ran in the May 11, 1933 Monroe Evening News.
Michigan To End Long Dry Regime At 6 O’clock Today
Detroit Celebrates At Legion Festival
Hall Is Crowded as Thousands Get Pre-Taste of 3.2 Legal Beverage
Lansing May 11 – On a foaming tide of beer, “bone dry” prohibition rode out of existence in Michigan today.
At 6 0’clock tonight bung starters from one end of the state to the other will play taps over a 15- year drought. Licenses to dispense 3.2 alcohol beverages were rushed from the headquarters of the state liquor control commission vendors throughout the state. The only dark spot on the beer cheery horizon was a shortage of tax stamps. The commission insisted they be attached to all packages of beer and wine. They were available only in Lansing and Detroit and many vendors had been unable to secure a supply. A consignment was to be sent to Escanaba, to serve upper peninsula distributors, via airplanes. Despite the insistence of the commission that the revenue stamps be secured, there was evidence beer will flow in almost every community- stamps or no stamps.
Hotels, restaurants and designated merchants had large supplies of the beverage on hand. It was shipped in from other states in freight cars, trucks and by airplane. In many cities gala celebrations were scheduled to usher in the mild mannered Bachus. Rules and regulations adopted by the commission were designed to temper the joviality.
The commission office was busy throughout the night, sending telegrams, granting licenses to those who might not receive their mail on time. William G. Lewis, secretary of the commission, said the licenses were being mailed at a rate of 100 an hour, but the telegrams were used to guard against delay.
While its managing directors were handling details of retail organization, the commission yesterday completed its list of regulations, and heard applications of additional breweries. Temporary permits were issued to the Kolb Brewing Co, Bay City; Upper Michigan Brewing, Iron Mountain; Muskegon Brewing Company, Muskegon; Marx Brewing company, Wyandotte.
The commission temporarily placed responsibility for the cancellation of retail stamps to the retailers. It urged strict cooperation in this move.
Legion Party Jammed
Detroit May 11– Beer of the legal variety goes on sale generally in Michigan at 6p.m. today but it will be an old story to some 30,000 Detroiters who were in at a “preview” last night.
The beer made it’s debut at a “victory” celebration in Convention Hall, with the Wayne county American Legion as host from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. eager and hilarious crowds surged about the huge building to welcome the beverage.
A recapitulation today showed that approximately 300 half barrels and 500 cases of beer were consumed. It would have been more but not nearly everyone who wanted to sample the beer could crowd into the building where 1000 tables were set up for the drinkers.
Party Starts Late
A veritable flood of dimes poured in as the beer flowed out of spigots and bottlenecks but as for the amount of money taken in, the best estimate of the legionnaires was that it was more than they have seen in many a day. The proceeds are dedicated to charity.
After waiting 15 years for beer to come back, there was a 6 minute delay in quaffing the first tumbler. The program called for Colonel Frederick M. Alger, a leader in the anti-prohibition fight, to drink the first glass to be poured by Julius Strohs. But Colonel Alger was four minutes late and it was six minutes after six before the formalities were out of the way.
But once it started there wasn’t any halt until closing time.
An estimated five thousand persons were in the hall when the waiters, in Legion regalia started their marathon.
A Good Natured Crowd
But by nine o’clock the crowd within the hall had more than doubled. When it seemed that not another could push his way inside police closed the door on an estimated 3000 to 6000 people outside. Impatient against the delay, this crowd surged against police lines, shoving those in the front ranks through the glass in the front doors. No injuries were reported and police said the beer seekers were good natured through it all.