Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, December 1, 2017

Ending Prohibition Proves Disappointing

Advertisement for beer sales,
published in the Sherburne County
Star News
, April 13, 1933
Prohibition officially ended April 1933.  Sherburne County officially ended prohibition April 6, 1933.  City Councils adopted ordinances allowing for the sale of beer and other spirits.  Although the local newspaper reported excitement, the availability of alcohol was not immediate.  And after the arrival of the newly distilled spirits, the paper reported a level of disappointment.  The legislation allowing the sale easily passed.  The challenge came in finding brewers and distributors to provide the previously prohibited drink.  Locating a palatable drink to distribute also presented a challenge. 

With the end of national prohibition in 1933, the Sherburne County Star News recalled Elk River as dry in 1915, four years before the national movement.  All of Sherburne County voted dry by 1916.  Yet, with the end of prohibition in 1933, the newspaper reported an excitement to sample legally manufactured spirits.

Headlines in the March 1933 issues of the Sherburne County Star News announced the end of prohibition and promised “beer will be available in Elk River by April 7th.”  Unfortunately, the local population had to wait for their opportunities to imbibe in the legal alcohol.  “Breweries of the twin cities being swamped with orders were unable to make deliveries in the country districts,” the paper reported. 

When the beer finally arrived, many thirsty patrons expressed disappointment with the taste and “lack of stronger kick.”  Possibly due to the lack of flavor or “kick” the newspaper also reported zero instances of public intoxication on the first few days of a more open community.

April 1933 marked the end of prohibition, yet the month presented new challenges to the hospitality trade in Elk River.  Locating breweries, distributors, and quality drink all proved new challenges for Sherburne County establishments.  A new twist on the end of prohibition, how the local bars and restaurants first developed this new offering. 

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