“Beer is Back!”: Budweiser Toasts its History with 75th Anniversary Repeal of Prohibition Commemoration
ST. LOUIS . — American workers and beer drinkers across the nation will raise a glass on April 7 to toast a significant milestone in the history of American brewing – the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition for beer in the United States.
At the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, the nation’s largest brewer will celebrate the historic anniversary with a gathering commemorating the events of April 7, 1933, including the introduction of the Budweiser Clydesdales and the re-broadcast of August A. Busch, Jr.’s national radio address from the steps of the Budweiser brewery’s Bevo bottling plant. A new historical exhibit at Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis tour center (www.budweisertours.com), including more than 50 rare Prohibition-era items, is now also open to the public. Artifacts on display include photos, bottles and advertisements for Prohibition-period products, as well as a video tribute to the events of April 7, 1933.
“Budweiser was America’s best-selling beer from 1898 until Prohibition effectively halted production in 1919, so naturally, the whole country looked to Anheuser-Busch to lead the celebration as the first cases of Budweiser rolled out of our St. Louis brewery just after midnight on April 7, 1933,” said Tom Shipley, Budweiser brand director, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Seventy-five years later, Budweiser is still the world’s most popular premium American lager. We are proud to once again celebrate this date and encourage adult beer drinkers everywhere to raise a Budweiser to toast this historic occasion.”
On the night of April 6, 1933, more than 25,000 St. Louisans, representing the hopes and dreams of American workers, long since home from the war and demoralized by the Great Depression, gathered with eager hearts and tin cups in hand to once again sip the bittersweet nectar of Budweiser, a sensation unknown to them for 14 years.
As the clock atop the brewhouse showed one minute past midnight on April 7, 1933, sirens and steam whistles sounded, the large wooden doors of the brewery’s Bevo bottling plant opened to the cheers of the thirsty, and 55 trucks laden with America’s favorite brew rolled out into the night, delivering the first cases of post-Prohibition Budweiser to the masses.
The airwaves echoed with the charming voice of August A. Busch, Jr., who spoke to the nation through a special radio broadcast via KMOX CBS Radio, welcoming the return of beer saying “Beer is back!” and restoring confidence in American industry during the Depression. “April the 7th is here and it is a real occasion for thankfulness marking a newfound freedom for the American people made possible by the wisdom, foresight, and courage of a great President and the cooperation of an understanding Congress,” Busch proclaimed.
Simultaneously, the Budweiser neon-lit clock in New York’s Times Square rang out with the tune, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
“National Prohibition significantly altered the course of American brewing history and negatively impacted the greater American society. Its repeal 75 years ago – putting thousands of Americans back to work and infusing millions into the economy – rightfully should be celebrated by brewers, beer drinkers and the American public alike,” Shipley said. “Budweiser is proud to have played a part in restoring confidence in the American economy during those trying times, and will honor our legacy and history of innovation during this much-anticipated anniversary.”
Anheuser-Busch annually celebrates the repeal of Prohibition on April 7, the day the Cullen-Harrison Act took effect, legalizing the sale of 3.2% alcohol by volume beer in the District of Columbia and the 20 states in which state laws did not prohibit its sale. Though the national repeal of Prohibition for all forms of alcohol did not become finalized until December 5, April 7 will always mark the most significant anniversary in the American beer industry.
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