Prohibition in America

One of my favorite anecdotes is of two German friends of mine, eager to tour the US. They saved their money and planned to drive the length of Highway 1 in California in a convertible.

First though, at great expense and effort, they would pay homage to their love of Jack Daniel’s by visiting the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Elated to arrive and eager to sample the whiskey at its birth place, they nearly fell over when the tour guide remarked “because we’re in a dry county, we will only be able to offer you lemonade at the conclusion of the tour.”

As Alexis de Tocqueville already noted in the early 1800′s, the US is a nation of extremes, often oblivious to societal contradictions. Public policy on alcohol is a case in point.

While US states determine the legal age of consumption, the Federal government won’t fund your roads if that age is not 21. Specific counties can restrict alcohol sales altogether.
As this fascinating map from the BBC shows, prohibition never ended in parts of the US.

Read the BBC article here.

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