Prohibition Beer Labels (1920 - 1933)
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National Prohibition (the 13th Ammendement = Volstead Act) was in force from Oct. 28, 1919 through Dec. 5, 1933. During that time alcoholic beverages were illegal & there was no beer sold. However, it was legal to sell low alcohol content beer (less than 1/2 of 1% by volume), so some of the larger breweries continued to produce a low alcohol product in hopes of staying in business until Prohibition ended.
During Prohibition labels were prohibited from containing many beer-specific words. The breweries could not use the words "Beer" or "Ale" or "Lager", along with many other descriptive beer phrases. They also could no longer list themselves as "Brewery" or "Brewing Co.". So Proihibition era labels reflected names of businesses that include only "Beverage Co." or "Products Co." , while the products they sold had non alcoholic names like "Brew" or "Near Beer".
Earlier Prohibiton labels were widely unregulated & often breweries used up old stock of Pre-Prohibition labels by changing certain information. During the 2nd half of Prohibition, regulation of labels began to include requiring a Federally issued L-Permit. This permit was a unique # assigned to each "brewery" and it was a sign of much more stringent regulations to come. Breweries struggled to stay in bussiness by selling related items that used the same ingredients. Soda, chewing gum, ice cream, malt & yeast were sold by many "breweries". Finally the Repeal of 13th Ammendment came on Dec. 5, 1933. The immediate years to follow gave rise to the most prolific array of breweries, brands & beer labels ever seen in the United States.[ I have just redesigned this entire website. This page & others will be updated shortly.]