Prohibition Repeal Day, December 5 (with PHOTOS) — Come help us celebrate in Ann Arbor

Everything in moderation, including moderation

Chris and I have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Not so much the “conducive to, or promoting good health” definition of healthy, but more like “of a satisfactory size or amount” definition. We do enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. And by “time” I mean “day”.

It’s fair to say that if we had been around during Prohibition we would have been one of the “wets” and figured out how to make gin in our bathtub. Or perhaps we would have owned one of those private basement clubs/speakeasies where we served drinks to our friends made from liquor smuggled in from Canada. I probably would have walked around with a flask in my Russian boots. We would have been outlaws. But we weren’t around then, and today, because the 18th Amendment was fully ratified on Dec 5, 1933, we can imbibe one of our favorite beverages at any number of places that we enjoy.

The repeal of Prohibition actually has close ties to my family. In 1929 President Herbert Hoover established the The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, better known as the Wickersham Commission, chaired by former U.S. Attorney General under President Taft, George Woodward Wickersham.

Oh, and my maiden name is Wickersham.

Hoover established this Commission because of public concern about crime. The Commission started meeting in 1929 and finally issued a report in 1931. The report was confusing as it recommended not repealing the 18th Amendment but at the same time supporting the reasons put forth by anti-Prohibition supporters. The facts said Prohibition was unenforceable but the commission was unwilling to recommend repealing the law.

Historian David Kyvig noted that the individual statements made it clear that the report’s conclusions “represented a political compromise; a clear effort, at least in some eyes, to avoid embarrassing the Hoover administration.”

Franklin P. Adams of the New York World poked fun at the report by writing:

Prohibition is an awful flop.
We like it.
It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop.
We like it.
It’s left a trail of graft and slime
It don’t prohibit worth a dime
It’s filled our land with vice and crime,
Nevertheless, we’re for it.

However, despite the Commission’s efforts to appear neutral, the facts in their report still overwhelmingly proved that the law was not effective. This, along with polls showing that the public was mostly against Prohibition and thought it should be overturned or at least allowing for light beer and wine, started the push for repealing the 18th Amendment.

Part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt platform when he ran for president in 1932 was to repeal Prohibition. He was elected and a full repeal of the 18th Amendment finally came on December 5, 1933.

I simplified this complicated time in our nation’s history because I’d rather take you along on a pictorial trip to some of the places where we have enjoyed adult beverages on our travels. I have a small obsession with photographing our drinks with my iPhone, as you will see.

First, there’s our regular joint, Arbor Brewing Company. Describing us as regulars is an understatement. Chris with his Sacred Cow IPA and me with my Alte 22 German Alt (in a Mug Club member mug, of course.)


Brews at an Arbor Brewing Company beer tasting

In fact, in celebration of Prohibition Repeal Day, we are meeting at Arbor Brewing Company on Wednesday, Dec 5 at 7:00 p.m. for Repeal Day. If you’re in the area we’d love it if you could join us for a toast. (114 East Washington Street Ann Arbor, MI 48104, 734-213-1393.)

Two other local favorites of ours are Jolly Pumpkin for their somewhat unusual but always pleasing variety of microbrews and Zingerman’s Roadhouse for their flights of bourbon. It’s a great way to try different varieties.

One of our favorite Michigan brewpubs is the Dark Horse Brewery in Marshall, Michigan. If you haven’t tried their blueberry stout, you are missing out.

When we travel north to the Leelanau Peninsula, we ALWAYS have a beverage at two place — usually more — but always these two places. Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor, Michigan and L.Mawby in Suttons Bay. A bottle of Mawby’s sparkling wine will inevitably end up with us and a pizza on Sunset beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (where we were married) at some point on the trip.


Beers at Art’s Tavern


L. Mawby sparkling wines on the beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Here’s a photo tour of some of the other places we have celebrated our right to drink alcohol:


Old Leghumper Porter from Thirsty Dog Brewery in Akron, OH, enjoyed at a cafe in Cleveland — this has to be our favorite beer name!


Gorgeous beer from the Schlafly Brewery in St. Louis, MO


A flight of fine beers from the impressive Dragonmead Brewery in Warren, MI


Beers from The Brewerie in Erie, PA (get it?) This excellent brewpub is in an old train station and is amazing.


Celebratory L. Mawby wine enjoyed on our anniversary at Grange in Ann Arbor


A glass of wine enjoyed during an evening round of horseshoes in our backyard


Our very own “Emergency Manager” bourbon cocktail (recipe HERE), known to have been enjoyed by Rachel Maddow and her staff

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