National Beer Day is celebrated every year on April 7. The date marks the passing of the Cullen-Harrison Act which legalized the sale of beer with 4.0% or less volume, in 1933. The Act was the propeller of the end of Prohibition, and on April 7, 1933, an estimated 1.5 million beer barrels were sold.
The Prohibition Era
In January 1919, the United States Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the production, transport, and sale of intoxicating liquors in the US, but not their consumption. The amendment would later be legally enforced by the enactment of the Volstead Act.
By 1920, the whole country was subject to prohibition, and beer, wine, and other liquors were made illegal. While the act did see a lowering in alcohol consumption in the American population, bootlegging and smuggling increased.
Twelve years later, then presidential nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt voiced his wish to repeal the 18th amendment, and indeed, in 1933, April 7, as President, he did just that. By signing the Cullen-Harrison Act, he took the first steps towards the enactment of the 21st amendment which would eventually repeal the 18th amendment and end Prohibition in December 1933.
Upon Roosevelt’s announcement of the enactment of the Cullen-Harrison Act, many people gathered on the streets and outside breweries to celebrate with a few beers.
This initial step did not end prohibition, but only rectified what should be considered an intoxicating beverage under the Volstead Act.
History of National Beer Day
It wasn’t until 76 years later, in 2009, that Justin Smith, a Craft Beer Examiner from Virginia, would create a Facebook page with the name National Beer Day, with the intent of starting a new national holiday. It was on social media that he promoted the holiday, spreading it through friends and acquaintances, and eventually the page started trending across the country and became viral, with many people adopting National Beer Day as a day to celebrate.
National Beer Day was officially recognized in 2017 by both the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe and Congress. Later, in 2018, a House Joint Resolution 90 formally recognized the holiday in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Celebrating National Beer Day
The best way to celebrate this holiday is by gathering friends and visiting your local bars and taverns for a few beers.
True to its inception, the holiday is always a popular one on social media, especially Twitter, where #NationalBeerDay usually becomes a trend on April 7, with people sharing the ways that they are celebrating this day.