Today, we celebrate beer. We celebrate the beverage we love and its positive impact on business and life. We rejoice its significance and we revere its perseverance and recent renaissance by way of the craft beer revolution.
Yes, on this National Beer Day 2017, we reflect on the greatness of beer but we need to remind ourselves that less than a century ago, the adult beverage outlook was rather bleak and uncertain. Prohibition gripped the land, leading to organized crime and turning ordinary, peaceful citizens into common criminals. Once hard- working Americans, crippled economically by the Great Depression, found themselves jobless and helpless, unable to gain meaningful employment and often without the spare cash to purchase a single six pack, even if it had been legal.
But then, on April 7, 1933 a dim but slowly gleaming light began to shine when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Cullen- Harrison Act into law. Roosevelt was acutely aware of the damage wrought by prohibition and he sought to ease the suffering by once again legalizing alcohol, at least in a small way. Calling on Congress to make beer legal once more, Roosevelt encouraged the legislative branch to take swift and immediate action. Representative Thomas Cullen introduced the measure to the U.S. House and Senator Pat Harrison likewise introduced it to the U.S. Senate. After short deliberation, the act passed Congress and was signed into law by President Roosevelt.
Under the Cullen- Harrison Act, low alcohol, 3.2 percent beer was once again legal. Prohibition was not yet overturned, but the Cullen- Harrison Act was an important first step in that direction and upon its passage, the United States inched ever closer toward freedom.
Here are some important facts about the Cullen- Harrison Act, presented in infographic form, courtesy of Craftbeer.com: