On January 16, 1919, thirty six states ratified the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ushering in the era of Prohibition, bathtub gin, speakeasies and organized crime. The new law became effective January 17, 1920 and was repealed on December 5, 1933.
But the growth of criminal empires isn’t the only lesson in unintended consequences that our country’s short, torrid affair with abstinence provides, as prohibition itself may have been an unintended consequence of the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows the federal government to directly tax income.
Prior to the Sixteenth Amendment’s adoption, liquor taxes supplied up to one-third of the federal government’s income; by 1920, the federal income tax had far outpaced liquor taxes and Prohibition became economically feasible.
In honor of Chicago’s storied past in the organized crime industry and as a reminder of the unintended consequences that inevitably accompany legislative action, Chicago restaurant Old Town Social teamed up with Goose Island Beer Company to
steal our name honor us by naming a beer after us.
The Beer Almanac reviewed
us our namesake beer:
It smells metallic and sour with unripened fruit. Not inviting but not disgusting. It tastes of … an almost mildewy quality. An interesting affair, but there are many better choices out there.
Sounds about right.