Friday, December 4, 2009

Raise the glass: celebrate Repeal Day

I think I will get up early tomorrow to celebrate Repeal Day.
Seventy-six years ago, on Dec. 5, 1933, Utah became the final state in a three quarters majority needed to ratify the 21st Amendment. Legal booze was back! The 21st amendment repealed the18th, which of course, called for prohibition of alcohol in the United States.
Until last year here in Colorado, if the date fell on a Sunday, you would not have been able to celebrate by buying booze. In April 2008, Colorado lawmakers passed legislation that eliminated the Sunday ban on liquor sales. The law became effective July 1, 2008.
Colorado, like many states, went dry before the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in 1920.
According to, an amazing 2,520 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 1879. New York City at that time supported 75 breweries. The nation's largest brewery, George Ehret's Hell Gate Brewery, sold only180,152 barrels that year and made only 1.5 percent of the country's beer. Today, Anheuser-Busch makes more than 40 percent of the beer brewed in America.
Total beer production in the U.S. in 1879 was 10,848,194 barrels. According to beer production figures for Colorado in 2006 -- more than double that amount, 23,370,848 barrels, were produced here making it the leading state in the nation for gross production.
Colorado excels in making beer. At least a hundred breweries have called Colorado home.
The first one, Rocky Mountain in Denver, eventually became the Zang Brewing Company and was the largest brewery in the Rockies until prohibition. Only four survived the long dry spell between 1916 and 1934. Of those four, only Adolph Coors is around today. Tivoli, from Denver, Walters from Pueblo, and Schneider, from Trinidad were all gone by the 1970s.
Today, the number of operating breweries in Colorado is fast approaching the 100 count once again.
Beer for breakfast, anyone?

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