Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 6th 2013 Contents 10 Friday, December 6, 2013 • Issue 117
If you listened closely yester-
day you would have heard
glasses clinking in celebration
all over the world as drinkers
everywhere celebrated Repeal
If you've never heard of Repeal
Day, then let's inform you. Imag-
ine an age where no one was al-
lowed to make or drink alcohol.
Seems unimaginable right? But
at the at the turn of the 20th
Century, that is exactly what
happened when the Women's
Christian Temperance Union,
which had been promoting Pro-
hibition for many years, because
they believed alcohol was the
cause of many, finally convinced
the Government to outlaw alco-
hol.On January 16th, 1919, the US
Congress passed the Eighteenth
Amendment, outlawing alcohol
in an effort to put an end to
drunkenness, crime, mental ill-
ness, and poverty.
Instead of decreasing crime,
the Prohibition Era as it became
known, saw the rise of organised
crime as the thirst for alcohol
saw illegal production and distri-
bution of alcohol taking place.
As more Prohibition problems
rose to the fore, the number of
developed and in 1932, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt ran for Presi-
dent on a platform that included
the repeal of Prohibition.
On December 5, 1933, Utah,
the final state needed for a three
quarters majority, ratified the
21st Amendment, repealing Pro-
hibition and restoring the Ameri-
can right to a celebratory drink.
While the amendment still al-
lowed for state and local levels
of Prohibition, by 1966 there
were no state laws banning alco-
hol.When the 21st Amendment
was ratified and Prohibition was
terminated Dewar's Scotch -- the
first legal whisky to arrive in the
US -- hit New York's South
Street Seaport docks the mo-
ment the law was put into ac-
tion. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (JFK's
father) happened to be the US
agent for the brand.
Now, a lot of people have sug-
gested 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 Im-
porters. Somerset owned the ex-
clusive rights to import Dewar's
Schotch and Gordon's Gin, and
right before Repeal, Somerset
stocked up. Big time. Once Prohi-
bition was over, they sold the
premium liquors for a hefty
profit, and Joe was a rich man.
The Dewar's whisky brand
was created by John Dewar, Sr.
in 1846. Under the control of his
two sons, John A. Dewar Jr. and
Thomas "Tommy" Dewar, the
brand expanded to become a
global market leader by 1896.
Tommy became famous as the
author of a travel journal, Ram-
ble Round the Globe, which doc-
umented his travels while
publicizing the Dewar name.
Dewar's eventually expanded
their product by constructing the
Aberfeldy Distillery in 1896.
To celebrate Repeal Day pick
up a bottle of the new Dewar's
Honey in Hilo. Like us on FB
The Mob Didn't Do It All
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 ter-
ritories, the majority of the production and trafficking was
done by individuals.
The term speakeasy is said to come from bartenders telling
patrons to "speak easy" when ordering so as not to be over-
heard some 30 years before prohibition. While the speakeasy
was often funded by organised crime and could be very elabo-
rate and upscale, the "blind pig" was a dive for the less desir-
The "Real McCoy"
The term "The Real McCoy" came out of this era. It's attrib-
uted 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.
The 18th Amendment Dies
The 18th Amendment is the only constitutional amendment
that has ever been repealed by another amendment (the 21st
The 21st hour of the 21st Day
To honour the repeal of the 21st amendment many celebra-
tion begin at 9pm or the 21st hour.
• Info courtesy: www.cocktailsabout.com
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