There is a story in my family that when my great-great-great grandfather marched off to join the ranks of the Confederate Army, his wife set up a still on the farm and sent her husband regular shipments of liquid courage. This story is especially strange since she was a prohibitionist.
Then again, America has always had a somewhat confused relationship with alcohol, which and this has often been tied up with violence. In 1794, General George Washington organized a large army in order to put down “The Whiskey Rebellion,” organized by a group of Pennsylvania whiskey makers who felt threatened by federal taxes.
Meanwhile, in its ongoing cold war with the Native Americans, the Europeans used alcohol as a weapon, selling it as a powerful drug that wreaked havoc on Native American communities.
Such were the problems surrounding alcohol in American that it was outlawed in 1920, in a move now referred to as “Prohibition”. The main result of this was the meteoric rise of organized crime. Men such as Al Capone and Bugs Moran became criminal warlords and the back streets of Chicago became their battlefield.
With the repeal of prohibition in 1933, individual states were allowed to make their own laws concerning the sale of alcohol. Which is why in North Carolina you can walk into a gas station with no shirt and no shoes and buy a case of beer, but not before noon on a Sunday.
Also coming on the heels of prohibition was the legal drinking age, which was originally set at 21. However, this led to the strange situation where a young man could be drafted and trained to kill, but couldn\'t buy a drink. This seemingly ridiculous situation caused over half of the states to lower the drinking age during the Vietnam War.
However, this ended up leading to so many young people dying (usually in cars) that in 1984, the drinking age was again raised to 21. Meanwhile, the US Army seems to have adopted the line most American Universities follow of not paying much attention to what its members consume in their off-hours.
What with America\'s proud history of alcohol, I thought you might all be interested in celebrating the “revolutionary spirit” with a bottle of the new Blue Coat Gin.
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