American Breweriana Journal Special Edition Summer 2008


Brewing Industry in Post Prohibition America 1935-1985


By Rich Wagner


2008 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. I’ve put together a chronology that covers the first two-thirds of that time period using news items that emerged from my research for “Philadelphia Breweries After Repeal… And Then There Were None (With Apologies to Agatha Christie)” (ABJ Sept./Oct. 2006).


My primary sources of information were the bi-weeklies Tap and Tavern and The Observer newspapers which are on microfilm at the Free Library. They covered Pennsylvania’s liquor industry in Pennsylvania for distributors and licensees. I scoured issues of these papers from 1935 to 1965 transcribing the short articles by hand and plunking my quarters in the copier like a river boat gambler for the full pages. At least I was hitting the jackpot! On average I had to spend a day in the library for each year. One of the things I found interesting as I wound my way through the decades was the way that news items painted a picture of the nation’s brewing landscape during a period that gave us so much of the breweriana we collect and at the same time providing a feel for the texture of American society during the period.

Note: The Special Edition contained the eight page chronology of events described in this introduction.