Celebrating Prohibition's repeal

Dec. 5, 1933: Seventy-five years ago, America ended Prohibition's 14-year dry spell. For that time, it was illegal to make, sell, transport or possess alcoholic beverages.

1 Liquor sales

The return of hard liquor was not just celebrated in taverns on Dec. 5 1933, when the 21st Amendment was passed to officially repeal Prohibition. Here, people lined up to purchase bottles at the Old Rose Distillery Co. for home parties.

2 Last call before Prohibition

A crowded liquor store in the Loop on Jan. 15, 1920, the day before Prohibition went into effect. The 18th Amendment banned the production, sale, distribution and consumption of alcohol. Proponents believed banning alcohol would eliminate many social ills, like crime and poverty.

3 Rum runner

A Chicago police officer stands by a "rum runner," a boat confiscated with alcohol on board, in February 1920, a little more than a month after Prohibition began. Despite the ban, bootleggers thrived in an industry controlled by organized crime.

4 Liquor raid

Federal officers confiscate liquor during a raid at an establishment on West Adams Street, December 1931.

5 Beer bust

Federal agents uncovered 70,000 gallons of beer worth $750,000 at Standard Beverage Corporation on South Campbell Avenue and poured out the entire batch in a Prohibition-era raid. Support for Prohibition began to diminish as enforcement became increasingly expensive and it was becoming apparent that the ban was doing little to curb crime and drunkenness

6 Busting barrels

Two federal agents seized and destroyed 115 barrels of beer in a 1931 raid on a brewery on South Wabash Avenue.

7 Old Man Prohibition

A group of men hung "Old Man Prohibition" from a tree at Belmont and West Central Avenues on Dec. 6 1933. Prohibition was repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment a day earlier.

8 Roll out the barrels

The day after Congress passed a bill legalizing the production of beer with an alcohol content of up to 3.2 percent in April 1933, a crowd cheered a beer truck as it left a brewery on 91st Street and Second Avenue.

9 Ready for real beer

At the Schoenhofen Brewery in December 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, employees hoisted the last of the near beer before getting to work sorting cases to be filled with beer containing alcohol. Prior to Prohibition, more than 1,500 breweries operated in the United States. Only about half survived by the end of Prohibition.

10 Happy brewer

In December 1933, with the repeal of Prohibition, John G. Weisback of the Prima Company releases the first truckload of "real" beer, beer allowed to contain more than 3.2 percent alcohol.

11 Guarded shipments

With Prohibition's repeal officia, armed guards accompany the first shipments of liquor to leave the warehouses for release in Chicago on Dec. 6, 1933.

12 Mugs aloft

Just after midnight on April 7, 1933, when beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol could be consumed, men at the Potthast Cafe hoisted mugs of the "3.2 beer." More than 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed during the first 24 hours.

13 Crowded bar

Rows of thirsty Chicagoans bellied up to the bar of a Loop restaurant for their first drinks of real beer since Prohibition's repeal in April 1933.

14 3-cent steins

With a competitor offering nickel beers, Joan Griswold tried to lure away drinkers with 3-cent steins at her drugstore bar in May 1933.

15 Happy beer drinkers
Patrons at a Walgreens drugstore enjoy 3.2 percent beers in April 1933.

16 Celebrating the return of beer

The city of Milwaukee holds Volkfest on April 17, 1933, a special celebration to mark the return of beer containing alcohol. More than 1,500 attended the festival that was centered in the city's auditorium and spilled out onto the streets.

17 Free beer at fair

At free beer day at the Century of Progress fair in November 1933, thousands of patrons braved cold temperatures for beer and sandwiches outside the Hall of Science. Fairgoers finished off 1,000 barrels of beer.

18 Happy patrons

Patrons at a Chicago restaurant hoist their mugs for a newspaper photographer in April 1933 to celebrate legislation allowing the production of beverages with an alcohol content of up to 3.2 percent.

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