Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Beerocrat Abroad: South Korea

안녕하세요 (hello), and welcome to another episode of The Beerocrat Abroad. This week, the Beerocrat is spending almost two weeks in and around Seoul, South Korea, visiting a friend and experiencing the culture, which of course means that I'll be having a beer or two while I'm here. While I may not be able to upload pictures at this time, I'll do my best to relay my experiences while in Seoul. It's gonna be another one of those longs posts again, so you have been warned.

건배 (Geonbae)!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition

I admit that as a beer blogger, I've messed up and missed some big events, like the passing of renowned beer hunter Michael Jackson and this year's St. Patrick's Day (which I did start and entry and only was able to finish it yesterday). However, tomorrow is a day that I can't, as The Beerocrat, miss: The repeal of the Volstead Act of 1919 on April 7th, 1933, otherwise known as the repeal of the national scourge known as Prohibition.

Many breweries, notably Anheuser-Busch, are hosting a number of events to mark the 75th anniversary. They are planning, among other events, to rebroadcast then-president of AB August Busch, Jr.'s speech on CBS radio that he made the same day President Franklin Roosevelt legalized beer in the 19 states that repealed their own Prohibition laws. Chances are that your local bar, pub, or brewery is having their own celebration to mark the occasion.

However, as with most things involving alcohol, there's some controversy surrounding this day, specifically if this is really the 75th anniversary. Many historians and critics of the beer industry say that Prohibition didn't truly end until December 5, 1933, when Utah ratified the repeal amendment. In spite of that, the fact that any American could have a beer, even 3.2% ABW beer, 8 months before Utah's ratification makes April 7th the start of the decline.

While April 7th is a joyous occasion, it still boggles my mind that we still have the vestiges of Prohibition 75 years on. There are many dry counties, including the county that contains Lynchburg, Tennessee, better known as the home of Jack Daniels. Many states, most famously Utah and Oklahoma, limit which alcoholic products can be sold and what ABV they may contain. Different labeling standards sometimes prevents beer from passing through certain states and counties. The words "last call" prevent people from enjoying a long night out. Some states that are otherwise progressive in their attitudes towards alcohol, like Oregon and Washington, prevent hard alcohol from being sold in grocery stores, relegating them to state-run liquor stores. Then there are the infamous "blue laws," or laws which legislate morality, that prevent people from buying alcohol on certain days of the week, most often Sundays; these are found all over the South, but also as far west as Colorado.

It makes me angry that these laws and regulations still exist, and if you are a freedom-loving American (or really an American that enjoys alcohol), you should hate them too. We as a free society should do everything in our power to overturn these silly, restrictive laws and regulations regarding beer. It's fine with me if you don't drink, just don't tell me what I can and cannot drink and when I can and cannot buy it. The repeal of Prohibition is about freedom, and I will raise my glass to it, and I will dedicate myself to getting rid of these restrictions wherever they exist. I identify more as a Democrat or a liberal, but any politician who stifles alcoholic freedom, regardless of whether they have a -D or an -R after their name, are in my sights.

So raise a glass to the return of freedom, and let's all work to make alcohol more accepted across the entire nation.


My sources: