It’s National Beer Day, So Let’s Check Illinois’ Numbers
According to the BrewersAssociation.org website, Illinois has around 300 craft breweries, which means that we have 3 breweries for every 100,000 Illinoisans over the age of 21. We'd better get busy, because that beer isn't going to drink itself.
You may be thinking that it's some sort of "National _____ Day" every single day, and you'd be absolutely correct. However, National Beer Day probably gets a few more celebrants that National Biscuit Day (Friday, May 14th), National Yarn Day (Saturday, October 16th) or even National Liver and Onions Day (all of those are real, even the disgusting Liver and Onions Day coming up on May 10th).
Sometimes, different National _________ Days are chosen because a person or group lobbied to get their particular area of interest named as a National Day for no other reason than publicity. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but National Beer Day's origin story is actually an interesting part of American history.
We've had a few bad ideas in this country over the years, and Prohibition was certainly one of them. From January of 1920 through December of 1933, Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, including beer. The strange thing, according to WineSpectator.com, was that drinking alcohol was not against the law--just making it, selling it, or buying it:
That's right. The actual act of consuming liquor was not what the 18th Amendment banned. Instead, it prohibited the "manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors," so you could technically drink all you wanted, but the means by which you obtained that liquor were probably illegal.
When FDR and company decided that enough was enough of this failed social experiment, Prohibition (the 18th Amendment) was repealed, making it the only constitutional amendment to ever be repealed (by the 21st Amendment). That's what National Beer Day celebrates, the Cullen-Harrison act being signed into law, reversing the prohibition on selling beer in the United States. Bloomberg.com reports that upon signing the Cullen-Harrison act, FDR suggested to an aide that "now would be a good time for a beer."
Okay, Rockford area beer drinkers and enthusiasts, it's time to crack a couple of cold ones to celebrate the day our country welcomed back hangovers with open arms. We love our beer here in Illinois, but just not quite as much as some other states. When it comes to gallons of beer consumed annually per capita, VinePair.com says that Illinois comes in at #6 in the nation with 253.4 million, behind #1 California (727.3 million), #2 Texas (618.1 million), #3 Florida (420.1 million), #4 New York (321.1 million), and #5 Pennsylvania (307.9 million).
Wisconsin is down at #13 in the nation.