Happy National Beer Day! It was on this day, April 7, in 1933 that the Cullen–Harrison Act went into effect—the legislation that legalized the sale of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% by weight (or 4% by volume), which heralded the end of Prohibition.
Since this blog is about Bend’s beer history, I looked up the issue of the Bend Bulletin for April 7, 1933, and thought it would be fun to reprint the local article on the day here. Enjoy!
Bend’s Beer Supply Disappears Quickly
Bars Are Busy Places For Short Time Today
One “Free Lunch” Appears When Customer Brings It From Own Pocket
Beer, clear as liquid amber and capped with white foam, made its appearance in Bend shortly before 11 o’clock this morning and for the first time in 17 years local residents publicly, uafriad ad in groups quaffed an alcoholic beverage. But the quaffing did not last long. In less than two hours the half-barrel allotments to local pool halls had disappeared and the bars, minus their brass rails, were again deserted. [Illegible] early hour this afternoon, Bend was again “dry”, so far as beer on draught was concerned.
Only five kegs, each holding 16 gallons, reached Bend in the first shipment, and one of the five was sent to Prineville. At one pool hall the beer supply was exhausted in 40 minutes, with three “bar tenders” sliding out the foam-capped glasses just as fast as an open space appeared.
One of the highlights of the morning was the appearance of Fred Gotchey at a bar with a lunch. He ordered a glass of beer, his first in 20 years, pulled out his lunch and sipped and ate.
Bottled goods were being distributed this afternoon and it was expected that another shipment of kegs would reach the town sometime tonight or early tomorrow.
Opinions were varied as to the “kick” of the percentage beer and it appeared to be the general opinion that America will never be known as a nation of drunkards as long as the alcoholic content of drinks is kept at 3.2 per cent. However, some persons whose taste had not been dulled by high-content home brew maintained that the 3.2 per cent stuff is just as good as the beer of the old days.
Legalized beer has its advantage, one very thirsty man said. For instance, a person can enjoy a drink from a bottle without paying any attention to the bottom or fearing that the beverage will be discolored by yeast sediment.
One man who drank enough glasses of the beverage to get himself into a reminiscent mood said he recalled that back some 17 years ago prohibitionists said it would be a “cold day” when beer returned. This reminiscent individual, wrapped in a heavy overcoat, added that the prohibitionists were right.