Why is April 7th “National Beer Day”? Well, it’s because it was on that date in 1933 that the production and distribution of beer became once again legal in the United States.
On March 14, 1933, Representative Thomas H. Cullen introduced House Resolution 3341, which would amend parts of the Volstead Act, which was the legal basis for Prohibition. The bill passed the House it that same day, and made its way to the Senate, where it was introduced by Senator Pat Harris, and passed on March 16.
The final, amended, version of HR 3341 was approved by the Senate on March 20, by a vote of 43 to 35 (with 15 abstentions) and agreed to by the House on March 21. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed HR 3341 into law, with his famous –though perhaps aprocryphal- quip that “I think this would be a good time for a beer!”
The Cullen–Harrison Act, as it became known, after its sponsors, made it legal in the United States to sell beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight), and wine of similarly low alcohol content, which were thought to be too low to be intoxicating, effective April 7, 1933. The Act, however, did not in itself end Prohibition when it came to beer or wine, as it was still illegal to produce or transport such beverages into any state or territory, or into the District of Columbia, unless it had passed similar legislation to legalize sale of those low alcohol beverages in its jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, throngs gathered at breweries and taverns for their first legal beer since 1918.
(This is a repost of a post originally published on April 7th, 2017. – Juan)