Sudsy tribute to prohibition anniversary
Beer drinkers have more to celebrate this weekend than usual. It was 74 years ago on Saturday that the federal prohibition on beer was repealed...
Seattle Times business reporters
Beer drinkers have more to celebrate this weekend than usual.
It was 74 years ago on Saturday that the federal prohibition on beer was repealed.
For eight months, beer and light wine — drinks with 3.2 percent alcohol or less — were the country's only legal alcoholic beverages. In December 1933, people were legally free to drink stronger forms of alcohol.
Elysian Brewing is celebrating with a bathtub full of foaming ale in the dining room of its Capitol Hill brewpub.
The clawfoot display is a play on bathtub gin, the often foul-tasting liquor brewed in large quantities — maybe even in bathtubs — during Prohibition.
Still, the Elysian spectacle is not just for fun.
"Part of the reason is to call attention to the fact that there's a very strong neo-prohibition movement," said Elysian co-owner Dick Cantwell.
He points to occasional efforts to lower the legal blood-alcohol level for driving, sometimes as low as 0.02 percent from 0.08 percent in Washington, and the fact that five states — Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah — still ban home brewing.
With more than 80 breweries, Washington has the third most of any state, after California and Colorado, according to the Brewers Association in Boulder.
Each brewing site is counted separately, so that Elysian has three — on Capitol Hill, near Green Lake and one near Safeco Field.
Craft brewers have crawled back from their heyday before Prohibition, which became federal law in 1920. Some states, including Washington, banned many alcoholic beverages years earlier.
Because of Prohibition, "the biggest brewery owner became Al Capone," said Charles Finkel, who owns Pike Brewing near Pike Place Market with his wife, Rose Ann.
"It took away legitimate business people and replaced them with criminals."
A few years after Prohibition was lifted, the country had only 750 breweries.
Now it has some 1,500, including big players like Anheuser-Busch and regional brewers like Redhook Ale Brewery in Woodinville, which last week posted its first annual profit in a decade.
For a small beer museum Finkel is creating at Pike Brewing, he recently paid $30 on eBay for a replica of Carrie Nation's hatchet.
Nation was a temperance leader at the turn of the last century known for hacking up taverns.
Pike Brewing will celebrate the legalization of beer drinking on Saturday with half-price beer samplers and a discount on "Carrie Nation's Cocktails" — better known as fruit juice.
— Melissa Allison
Seattle Times researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report.Tidbits
Jones Soda has hired Peter Burns as its new senior executive vice president of sales and marketing. Burns had been vice president of sales for Izze Beverage, where he oversaw sales of $20 million in less than two years. — MA
Seattle's Finest Exotic Meats , which sells everything from buffalo to alligator and wild boar meat, is closing its Bellevue location and moving to San Antonio, where it already has a store. Area customers can still buy from the company — now called Exotic Meats USA — online and over the phone. — MA
Amazon.com this week introduced a new contest to find the "Harry-est town in the U.S.A." And no, this has nothing to do with Squatch, the Sonics mascot. The honorable distinction goes to the town that pre-orders the most copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from Amazon "on a per capital basis." The winning town receives a $5,000 gift certificate for a local charitable organization. According to the latest rankings, the Harry-est town is Falls Church, Va. Washington ranked 3rd (Gig Harbor), 7th (Issaquah) and 10th (Snohomish). Olympia rounded out the top 100, but the city of Seattle was nowhere on the list. Muggles, we are. — MSO
Starbucks and Mikhail Gorbachev's environmental organization, Green Cross International — known in this country as Global Green USA — have partnered to create Planet Green Game, an online video game to educate people about climate change. Players explore a fictional city where and learn about fuel efficiency. To play, go to www.PlanetGreenGame.com. — MA
Washington Wine launches a contest today to name its new 12,000-square-foot winery scheduled to open next year in Woodinville. Until now, the company has produced only private label wines for a few clients. The contest is being held at www.WashingtonWineCompany.com, and the winner will receive two cases of the winery's best wine each year for a decade, along with an annual wine tasting hosted by the winemaking staff. — MA
Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or email@example.com. Monica Soto Ouchi covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-515-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Retail Report
Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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