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Do Kids Know This Today – Near Beer

Hatchet Annie

America has always had terrorist groups. Religious extremists Hell bent on “doing God’s work” which is whatever they define it to be no matter how un-Christian their actions. We simply didn’t have good names for them like we have today.

One of the earliest terrorist groups went by the name “The Temperance Movement.” It was a loose affiliation of terrorist cells scattered around the country with the backing/support of many newspaper owners. This gave rise to Carrie Amelia Nation, dubbed “Hatchet Annie” who strode into establishments selling/serving alcohol with a bible in one hand and a hatchet in the other trying to bust them up. The size of her terrorist cell grew as newspapers helped spread the word about her bible thumping extremist views. This spawned other terrorist cells around the country and since the media of the day, or at least some of the owners, chose to support this terrorist organization they gave it a catchy name “The Temperance Movement.”

Hatchet Annie was locked up many times but could not be held for long due to a legal paradox. The courts could not find a way to prosecute a person who damaged/destroyed an establishment which was illegal by state law. At the time, Kansas was a dry state. Yes, we had them before prohibition. We still have dry cities and counties today.

During my twenty-somethings St. Louis was semi-dry. You could not buy any form of alcohol on Sunday. This lead to Sunday traffic jams with everyone trying to cross the river into Illinois to buy alcohol. While they were there they picked up some smokes and munchies. Eventually the twenty-five to forty crowd had a cultural shift where Sunday morning became the morning they made their weekly supermarket run so Illinois was getting _all_ of the revenue. When St. Louis started going broke, they did the math and changed the law. I don’t know if the culture of making a weekly Sunday morning grocery run to Illinois will go away any time soon though. That culture existed for more than one generation.

Your history class might have taught you that these terrorist groups gave us “The 18th Amendment,” Prohibition, but many fail to mention that this amendment also gave us Al Capone, Murder Incorporated and every other large scale organized crime group.

Virtually none of your history classes will tell you that these terrorist groups also gave us “The 16th Amendment,” a national income tax.

Congress could not give up the tax revenue from alcohol without a new source of money. Prior to this terrorist group, our government was funded by usage taxes (things you choose to purchase such as alcohol, gasoline, etc.) and gifts from each state. As long as you didn’t purchase any of the things with a Federal tax on them you could live in this country making as much money as you wanted without ever giving any money to the Federal government, or close enough. After The 16th amendment most people and businesses had to pay tax, except for the terrorist groups who gave us The 16th Amendments. They were deemed non-taxable charitable organizations. (Sound familiar? The PACs, SuperPACs and that entire host of 501c organizations funneling billions of dollars into F-ing-up our government pay no tax on their money.)

near beer imageIn 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, campaigned in part on the pledge to end Prohibition. On March 23, 1933, Roosevelt signed legislation relaxing the legal definition of intoxicating beverages, eight months before Prohibition would be officially voided by a constitutional amendment. As of April 7, beer with up to 3.2 percent alcohol by volume could flow in the 20 states that did not outlaw its sale.

Now, let’s just keep in mind their were two primary methods of creating “near” beer. The first was to completely redesign your brewing process to produce a full flavored low alcohol beer. That took a lot of time to get right. The slam-bam-thank-you-mam solution was to brew beer like you always did and add a final step of chemically removing the alcohol. You can pretty much guess what the end result tasted like.

People talk about the end of Prohibition as if a switch was flicked and suddenly alcohol was available everywhere. Hopefully you clicked the link to find out where all of the dry places currently are in America.

Both before and after Prohibition, there had been a need for low/no alcohol versions of beer and wine. Here is a really good article on such beers today. If your drinking water comes from open surface water (lake, stream or river), even if you don’t have BP or Exxon dumping toxic waste into the body decrying “burdensome Federal Regulations” won’t let them dump even more, you still have to face the reality of drinking fish pee. Every kid who grows up on a farm soon learns cows pee in creeks and water flows downstream. In medieval times they solved this problem by brewing low alcohol beer and “watering wine.” They didn’t know exactly what the problem was, they just knew drinking water from a source other than a dug well made them sick.

“Watering wine” was the practice of putting a small amount of wine, which typically had a significant alcohol content, in a container of of water and mixing it. They did not know the alcohol killed many of the germs and bacteria, they just knew they didn’t get sick. Watering wine was often done for children because it gave the water a pleasing grape or berry taste, depending on the fruit used to make the wine. Medieval times had a perpetual Flint water crisis, especially since lead was the only form of pipe and that only existed in places the Romans had been.

Plumber gets its name from the Latin word for lead, plumbumb. A plumber was someone who worked with the plumbumb.

Low and nonalcoholic beer sales are on the increase and practices like Dry January help boost the sales. This is an off-shoot of the Catholic practice of Lent. A good many non-Catholics have adopted the practice of Lent without the religious aspect. While there is great religious doctrine around the practice, it was adopted then and now by peoples not of the faith out of a need to purge/cleanse their bodies after spending a long winter indoors eating and drinking. Traditionally, a great many Irish Catholics chose to give up alcohol during the 40 days of Lent. In a particular snub to the Irish, the Catholic church set St. Patrick’s Day during Lent.

It should be noted that the terrorist groups which tried to enforce their bible based version of Sharia Law on America, making it their Caliphate, did not go away when Prohibition ended. Now they have morphed into groups trying to take away the guns from American citizens. The play book is the same, only nastier. The media covers each mass shooting 24×7, storing the information for all eternity on-line, encouraging the next mass shooter. Their focus is on causing enough school/public shootings by offering digital immortality to each shooter, hoping to turn public sentiment into their favor. All things evolve and this has evolved well beyond busting up bars.

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

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