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Weird Alcohol Facts for Repeal Day

Crack open a beer, mix up your favorite cocktail, and dust off that old bottle of wine you’ve been saving: it’s time to celebrate Repeal Day. It might be hard to believe now, but back on December 5, 1933, the US ratified the 21st Amendment, effectively repealing the 18th Amendment from 13 years earlier, which banned the manufacture, sale, or importation of alcohol.

Of course, that didn’t stop everyone from drinking. New York during Prohibition was home to an estimated 30,000 speakeasies, which got their name because you had to quietly say a codeword through a locked door for entry. Today, you can get the same cloak-and-dagger treatment at popular Prohibition-era speakeasies still operating in places like New York and Chicago. Or you sit on the couch and order booze with an app. Progress!

Here are a few more fun facts about your favorite potent potables to help get into the spirit of this not-really-a-holiday-but-great-excuse-to-celebrate:

  1. It’s not easy banning booze. People have been drinking alcohol for at least… well, pretty much forever. Jars discovered from the Stone Age show that fermented beverages were around way back in 10,000 BC.
  2. Fast forward 6,500 years to the ancient Egyptians. They knew how to party, and they’re credited with “inventing” beer through a fermentation process that added essential B vitamins and amino acids for a thick and nutritious brew. Who says you can’t have beer for breakfast?
  3. A couple of years ago, one of our favorite breweries, Dogfish Head, worked with a biomolecular archaeologist to recreate ancient ales based on recently discovered recipes. As a result, they released Ta Henket, made with an ancient form of wheat from Cairo. (Find out where to order Dogfish Head beers near you.)
  4. From 6,500 years in the past to 10,000 light years into space, alcohol really is everywhere. In a galaxy far, far away, there’s a cloud 1,000 times larger than our solar system, made up of enough alcohol for every person on earth to have 300,000 pints every day… for a billion years.
  5. Another alcohol cloud in our own galaxy contains ethyl formate, a compound that gives raspberries their taste and smells like rum. So yeah, there’s a big raspberry-flavored rum cloud smack in the center of the Milky Way. Cocktails, anyone?
  6. Speaking of cocktails, they came to popularity during Prohibition as a way to mask the taste of not-so-tasty moonshine, bathtub gin, and other poorly made alcohol. Popular options popping up in the speakeasies included the Sidecar, French 75, Mary Pickford and Whiskey Old-Fashioned.
  7. It’s illegal to feed alcohol to moose in Alaska, or to fish in Ohio. As always, we advise against giving alcohol to any animals. But still good to know
  8. During Prohibition, making, selling, and shipping alcohol were illegal, but no one said anything about drinking it. Plenty of drug stores still sold the stuff for medicinal purposes. You just needed a doctor’s note.
  9. As a result, the Walgreens pharmacy franchise grew from 20 to 400 stores during Prohibition thanks to liquor prescriptions.
  10. “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is the shortest sentence with every letter of the alphabet. But we prefer, “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.” 

Now you can confidently go out there on Repeal Day and blow away your friends and bartenders with weird facts about alcohol. Cheers!

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