- In 1920, Congress enacted the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: the National Prohibition Act. It lasted from 1920 through 1933.
- Prohibition drove all but the most powerful and adaptable brewers out of business. Anheuser-Busch built truck bodies and refrigerated cabinets: manufactured barley malt syrup and ice cream; developed a de-alcoholized version of Budweiser; and entered the baker’s yeast business. The company produced over 26 new products between 1920-1927 to stay in business.
- Prohibition ended on April 7, 1933 and the 21st Amendment was ratified. While Prohibition did not end alcohol consumption, it dramatically changed the conditions under which it was sold and consumed.
- Congress recognized that the importance of maintaining effective state alcohol regulation do Section 2 of Amendment 21 gives stated authority to regulate the production, importation, distribution, retail sale and consumption of alcohol beverages inside their borders.
- Post Prohibition, the number of operating breweries quickly grew from zero to 756 by 1934. However, in 1935 only 160 breweries remained in the U.S. By 1984, just 44 brewers in the United Stated operated a total of 83 breweries.
- Federal and state lawmakers realized tha Prohibition did not work, but they did not want a return of the promotion and sales paterns that characterized the pre-prohibition era. Consequently, they put together a distribution system that utilizes distributors to help facilitate a balanced and orderly marketplace and to ensure local control of alcohol beverages. This system has worked well for more than 70 years, providing a level playing field for large and small producers and retailers and providing consumers with immense choice of product at a great value.