–Sunday bans on liquor sales dwindling–

USA Today ran a great piece today on the Repeal of Prohibition and how states are repealing Blue Laws as an innovative way to better the economy.

Check it out here.

Excerpt from the article:

According to Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS), a project conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, states have been reconsidering bans “with a particular focus on their impact on tax revenues and economic activity.”

Colorado Sen. Jennifer Veiga, a Democrat and a sponsor of the state’s repeal bill, said that she supported it for consumer convenience. But, she said, “the information we had at this time showed that it would generate additional revenues.”

In case you missed it, Forbes.com published a tasty cocktail column earlier this week with recipes for Prohibition-era drinks.

Check it out here: Ten Classic Cocktails To Make At Home

From the article –

In other words, the classic cocktails have endured for a reason: They taste great. And modern twists on the classics not only taste every bit as good, they represent the taste innovations that great bartending was always intended to be about.

So maybe which kind of cocktail you raise this Friday isn’t so important. But that you enjoy the freedom to raise one of any kind, is.


By David Hanson:

Seventy-five years ago last week, Texas ratified the 21st Amendment to repeal National Prohibition. It did so after more than 60 percent of voters in the state rejected that failed experiment in social engineering.

The overwhelming vote for repeal was a dramatic reversal because Texans had earlier embraced Prohibition in the belief that it would reduce crime, decrease violence, raise morality and protect young people.

The temperance movement had been strong in Texas even before it became a state. By the early 20th century, most counties in Texas were either completely or partially dry under local option laws.

It was Texas’s own U.S. Sen. Morris Sheppard who sponsored the Eighteenth Amendment to establish National Prohibition and who confidently asserted that “there is as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail.”

Sheppard could not have been more wrong.

Prohibition failed to reduce crime. Indeed, it suddenly made criminals of citizens who continued doing what had earlier been a legal activity — enjoying a drink. And it promoted the development of illegal producers and distributors to meet the continuing demand for alcohol.

Nor did Prohibition reduce violence. To the contrary, it led to deadly violence between illegal bootleggers and law enforcement agents. For example, six men were charged with crimes ranging from assault to murder involving the death of a Texas man. One of those charged was a Prohibition director and another was the chief of detectives. In another case, two Prohibition agents were charged with murder after killing a grocer and wounding his wife while conducting a raid on their store. One of the agents was described as being drunk during the raid.

To conduct their illegal activities, moonshiners and bootleggers typically bribed police, sheriffs and Prohibition agents. Knowledge of this fact reduced respect for Prohibition and for law in general. Young people often rebelled against the hypocrisy and decline in morality by drinking. For the first time in history, drinking became popular among women, especially young women.

Prohibition also promoted the undesirable pattern of drinking less frequently but more heavily. People didn’t go to a speakeasy to savor a drink over dinner but to guzzle alcohol while it was available.

And what people drank was typically produced quickly and carelessly. It sometimes contained toxic lead, creosote or even embalming fluid — in some cases causing consumers to suffer paralysis, blindness or even death.

As the problems caused by Prohibition mounted and became painfully obvious, Texans clamored for its repeal. While Prohibition attitudes and policies still linger in many dry pockets throughout Texas, there has been recent progress modernizing Texas alcohol laws.

Most notably, Texans at the local community level are voting to legalize alcohol sales throughout the state. In the past several years, voters have overwhelmingly approved alcohol sales in “dry” cities and counties. In fact, in more than 300 alcohol elections held throughout Texas since 2003, voters approved alcohol sales 81 percent of the time.

Despite these recent modernizations, Texas residents continue to suffer from the legacy of Prohibition-era thinking. Texas still has many dry counties and remains one of only 15 states that continue to ban distilled spirits sales on Sunday — the second busiest shopping day of the week.

As Texas marks this historic 75th anniversary of Prohibition Repeal, raise a toast to the state’s decisive vote to repeal one of the biggest policy debacles in American history; and, let’s hope Texas continues its push into the 21st Century by abolishing the final vestiges of the failed “experiment in social engineering” that was Prohibition.

David J. Hanson is professor emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York.