To people fond of libations, prohibition was a truly dark and “what were they thinking?” blemish on American history. For nearly 14 years, Americans were forbidden to sell or purchase most types of alcohol, which pushed the market underground. It forced the industry’s many family businesses, entrepreneurs, and classy gentlemen’s clubs to make a choice: either close, or get smart. Many of the businesses fell to mobsters and speakeasies (Boardwalk Empire, anyone?). No one will ever be able to uncover all of the mysteries surrounding Prohibition, but here’s a few things you didn’t know.
1. It was not illegal to consume alcohol
2. Hard cider was legal to sell during Prohibition.
3. Alcohol was prescribed by doctors and thus still available at pharmacies; whiskey was a favorite prescription.
4. Prohibition brought about co-ed bars; the pre-Prohibition bar scene was men-only, but going underground changed all of that.
5. Apparently, New York City alone had around 30,000 speakeasies. Who knew?