Raise a mildly alcoholic glass to President Franklin Roosevelt, who on this day in 1933 signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which legalized the sale of beer and wine with up to 3.2 percent alcohol. Prohibition smohibition, as they say. (They do not actually say that. Do not start saying that.)
What FDR did was amend the Volstead Act, passed in 1919, which put the 18th Amendment into action starting in 1920. The Eighteenth Amendment was the one that prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages, which the Volstead Act limited to 0.5%. That’s less than some kombucha nowadays.
For reference, the average American beer now has 5-7% alcohol and wine has about 12% alcohol. Drink responsibly.
FDR was relatively new to his office, and one of his first acts was intended to make both voters and the government happy. You can see in the Instagram photo above that legalizing alcohol was a major campaign issue in 1932. Simultaneously simpler and more complex times.
“I think this would be a good time for beer,” Roosevelt famously said on one of his first days in office.
People didn’t have a ton of money to spend on booze, but money wasn’t flowing into the government’s coffers either. The first day of beer sales, April 7, was lit. It also earned the government $7.5 million in tax receipts, author Bob Skilnik told CNN in 2008.