10 Facts About Prohibition and Repeal in the United States

The prohibition of alcohol in the United States began in 1920 and ended in 1933. There are many things that happened during prohibition and now there are many celebrations on the anniversary of what is referred to as Repeal Day on December 5th of each year.

Below are a few quick facts about "The Noble Experiment" and you can read a more in depth story about prohibition in The United States Prohibition of Alcohol - 1920-1933.

1933 Newspaper Headlines about Repeal...

  • 01 of 10

    The 18th Amendment Dies

    People of New York are celebrating the end of the Prohibition with beer. Photograpg. 1933 Photo by Imagno/Getty Images
    People of New York are celebrating the end of the Prohibition with beer. Photographed in 1933. Photo by Imagno/Getty Images

    The 18th Amendment is the only constitutional amendment that has ever been repealed by another amendment (the 21st Amendment).

    Read More about The 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act...

  • 02 of 10

    The Mob Didn't Do It All

    California prohibition agents with a vehicle fuel tank and the 250 bottles of tequila, which were hidden in it and smuggled into the US from Mexico, circa 1930. On the left and right are the two men, who were arrested with the contraband. Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    California prohibition agents with a vehicle fuel tank and the 250 bottles of tequila, which were hidden in it and smuggled into the US from Mexico, circa 1930. On the left and right are the two men, who were arrested with the contraband. Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    One of the biggest misconceptions of the Prohibition era is that the mob controlled all of the liquor supplies. While The Outfit, Al Capone and mobsters in other major metropolitan areas did control a considerable amount of alcohol in their territories, the majority of the production and trafficking was done by individuals.

    Interesting fact...Templeton Rye Whiskey is being produced again today after being one of the few distilleries in Iowa during Prohibition and is said to have been "Al...MORE Capone's whiskey of choice."

    Read more about the Mob during Prohibition...

  • 03 of 10

    The Speakeasy

    A man kneeling on the pavement, next to a sign showing the way to a speakeasy, during the Prohibition in America. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    A man kneeling on the pavement, next to a sign showing the way to a speakeasy, during the Prohibition in America. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    The term speakeasy is said to come from bartenders telling patrons to “speak easy” when ordering so as not to be overheard some 30 years before prohibition. While the speakeasy was often funded by organized crime and could be very elaborate and upscale, the "blind pig" was a dive for the less desirable drinker.

    Read about a few speakeasies of New York City that are still open in by Jef Klein

    Read more about the Speakeasies of Prohibition...

  • 04 of 10

    The "Real McCoy"

    21st January 1922: A woman putting a hip flask, known as the ankle-flask, into her Russian boot which fastens at the ankle, one of the many ways people have found of avoiding the strict prohibition laws in America. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    21st January 1922: A woman putting a hip flask, known as the ankle-flask, into her Russian boot which fastens at the ankle, one of the many ways people have found of avoiding the strict prohibition laws in America. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    The term "The Real McCoy: came out of this era. It is attributed to Captain William S. McCoy who facilitated most of the rum running via ships during prohibition and would never water down his imports, making his the "real" thing.

    Interesting fact...Rumrunners bringing liquor from Canada were from all parts of society using a variety of methods including running cars across the frozen Great Lakes and stuffing bottles in women's clothing who walked across the bridges. Many of the...MORE stories are documented in Rumrunners: A Prohibition Scrapbook - Compare Prices of the Book

    More about Rum Running during Prohibition...

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    December 5th

    The first 'legal' beer cases arriving at the White House, showing the end of prohibition decided by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt , April 1933 Photo by Apic/Getty Images
    The first 'legal' beer cases arriving at the White House, showing the end of prohibition decided by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt , April 193. Photo by Apic/Getty Images

    It was on December 5th, 1933 that the 21st Amendment was ratified and Prohibition ended. This day has since been known as Repeal Day.

    Interesting fact... The first legal bottle of beer produced by Washington's Abner Drury Brewery was delivered to President Roosevelt at the White House shortly after midnight on April 14, 1933 and stored in the President's pantry because he was still asleep.

    -From Prosit! - April 17, 1933 article in Time

  • 06 of 10

    Dewars - The First Scotch Available

    End of the Prohibition: Whiskey-consignment . Photograph. 1933. Photo by Imagno/Getty Images
    End of the Prohibition: Whiskey-consignment . Photograph. 1933. Photo by Imagno/Getty Images

    Dewar’s Scotch - the first legal whisky to arrive in the U.S. - hit New York’s South Street Seaport docks the moment the law was put into action. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (JFK’s father) happened to be the US agent for the brand.

    Many people have suggested that Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger (which he may or may not have been), but what he really was, was the owner of a company named Somerset Importers. Somerset owned the exclusive rights to import Dewar’s Scotch and Gordon’s Gin, and right before...MORE repeal, Somerset stocked up. Big time. Once Prohibition was over, they sold the premium liquors for a hefty profit, and Joe was a rich man.

    -From Museum of the American Cocktail

  • 07 of 10

    Wet Under the Umbrella

    After the annulment of the Prohibition a truck with beer barrels delights the crowd, New York, USA, Photograph, Around 1930. Photo by Imagno/Getty Image
    After the annulment of the Prohibition a truck with beer barrels delights the crowd, New York, USA, Photograph, Around 1930. Photo by Imagno/Getty Image

    The umbrella becomes a clever symbol of the post-prohibition era and this phrase "wet under the umbrella" referred to the many wet days to come.

    -From Museum of the American Cocktail

  • 08 of 10

    The 21st hour of the 21st Day

    View of people raising a celebratory glass of alcohol, after the repeal of Prohibition, Chicago, IL, 1933. From the Chicago Daily News collection. Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)
    View of people raising a celebratory glass of alcohol, after the repeal of Prohibition, Chicago, IL, 1933. From the Chicago Daily News collection. Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

    To honor the 21st Amendment, many celebrations begin at 9:00pm (or the 21st hour) on December 5th.

    -From Museum of the American Cocktail

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Virgin Drinks First

    Prohibition protesters parade in a car emblazoned with signs and flags calling for the repeal of the 18th Amendment. One sign reads, 'I'M NO CAMEL I WANT BEER!' Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images
    Prohibition protesters parade in a car emblazoned with signs and flags calling for the repeal of the 18th Amendment. One sign reads, 'I'M NO CAMEL I WANT BEER!'. Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

    Many Repeal Day hosts insist that the first drink of the evening be a non-alcoholic beverage to remind everyone of the dry days of prohibition.

    -From Museum of the American Cocktail

    After the mocktails, whip out a few of the classic cocktails that were all the fashion at the time and are still great libations.

  • 10 of 10

    Celebrate in Style

    22nd January 1926: Female flappers kicking, dancing, and having fun while musicians perform during a Charleston dance contest at the Parody Club. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    22nd January 1926: Female flappers kicking, dancing, and having fun while musicians perform during a Charleston dance contest at the Parody Club. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    If you're hosting a Repeal Day party, ask your guests to dress the part: flapper dresses, silk stockings, garters, and great hats for the ladies and vests, trench coats, fedoras and "mobster"-wear for the guys.

    Vintage fashion of the 20's and 30's...