100 years of Prohibition
On January 16, 1920, the Prohibition was established in the United States, which prohibited the consumption of alcohol, until 1933.
What did “Prohibition” mean?
It has been a century since one of the most controversial laws ever introduced in the United States: the Prohibition.
The Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale and/or transportation of “intoxicating liquids”.
Why did Prohibition arise?
A mixture of Protestant believers, progressives and above all, women, furiously defended that the cause of all laziness, poverty, and promiscuity in society was alcohol.
The religious sector suddenly found itself at a clear disadvantage and in decline in the face of the new values imposed by the growing industrialized society, overwhelming population growth in the cities and mass society.
In search of curbing “moral degeneration”, evangelical movements such as the Temperance Movement emerged, with such famous activists as Carrie Nation, whose main demand was moderation and abstention from alcohol.
On the other hand, women joined this fight against alcohol to avoid continuing to deal with the inappropriate behavior of their alcoholic husbands. They raised their voices not only against alcohol but also to proclaim their right to vote.
The authorities began to dispose of any alcoholic substances they might come across, spilling the contents of barrels and bottles into sewers and, in general, any other channel capable of carrying the liquid away.
Since the law did not prohibit the consumption or possession of alcohol (only manufacture, sale and transportation), the first thing that happened on the part of the detractors of the law was the massive accumulation of bottles and barrels, with the hope of gathering enough for the rest of their lives.
The speakeasies, discreet and clandestine places in the cities, where all kinds of alcohol were served and sometimes produced domestically (the quality of which was questionable), proliferated. A black market in alcohol was encouraged. Gangsters like Lucky Luciano or the great boss Al Capone in Chicago pivoted on their “tasks” prior to this new business and benefited from the situation.
The authorities could not cope. They had no resources to intercept all clandestine manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol. It is estimated that by the second year of the law’s implementation, alcohol consumption was already higher than before the ban.
Repeal of the law
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to dismantle Prohibition, given its obvious ineffectiveness.
More than 30,000 gangsters were in jail when the time came to repeal the law. There were nearly 300,000 arrests related to the enforcement of the law. Around 100,000 people died from drinking alcohol unfit for human consumption.
Unofficially, there is speculation that the millions of dollars in taxes on its sale were the main reason.
The truth is that at the time, no one thought that the law would ever be enforced. President Woodrow Wilson himself vetoed it at first, citing the delicacy of changing the rules of the customs and habits of such a large number of citizens. An argument that more than a decade later proved to be true.
Tribute to Prohibition at Bodegas Monje
Bodegas Monje continues to innovate. After the opening of the Wine Bar as an intimate corner in the lower part of the winery, it is now eventually transformed into a speakeasy.
We offer you the chance to experience this clandestine speakeasy during the weekends, set in those American 1920s. You will be able to taste wines and enjoy a delicious menu in our Wine Club, while you witness a theatre of the most “illegal”, directed by Jaster&Luis Creations.
You will find yourself completely wrapped up in the atmosphere thanks to a great cast of actors, special effects to create atmosphere, decoration in the space… in addition, we invite you to come dressed in some detail referring to the 1920s (or why not, come dressed in the entire theme).