As many of our fellow brew loving sites are noting, today is “Brew Years Day”. On this day in 1933 it became legal once again to manufacture, transport, sell and consume beer that was no more than 3.2% alcohol.
There are a couple of misconceptions about today, however.
“Brew Years Day” does not mark the day in which the 18th Amendment (aka the Volstead Act) was partially repealed.
Congress voted to repeal the act by affirming the 21st Amendment on February 20, 1933, but 2/3rds of the state legislatures had to ratify it before it could take effect.
In anticipation of the ratification (only a few states were unlikely not to ratify), Congress actually Amended the Volstead Act with the Cullen-Harrison bill to exclude beer that was 3.2% alcohol or less by weight (essentially declaring that 3.2 beer was not an “intoxicating” beverage). Beers with higher ABWs were still prohibited.
The 21st Amendment was ratified on December 5th, 1993 and repealed the Volstead Act.
Interestingly, the 36th state to ratify the amendment and give it the 2/3rds approval needed to become official was Utah. So make sure that you raise a glass and toast the Beehive State today.