Friday, April 7 — The years of Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, were considered a noble experiment that failed, as the subsequent crime associated with bootlegging caused problems worse than the lone problem of drunkenness. The crumbling of the unpopular Volstead Act accelerated on April 7, 1933 when Congress amended the act to permit beer of 3.2 percent alcohol to be brewed and sold. The beer permitted earlier under Prohibition contained only .05 percent. Called “near beer,” and much disdained, one humorist declared that whoever named it was a poor judge of distance. Today, there are more than 33,000 beer, wine and liquor stores in the U.S., with annual sales of around $43 billion.
Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.