This Would Be a Good Time for a Beer
by David Klemt
New Beer’s Eve and National Beer Day are relatively new American holidays closely related to prohibition and Repeal Day.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wait a second—Repeal Day takes place in December. What’s wrong with you?”
First, you’re right. Second, we don’t have time to get into all of that.
However, beer became legal again well before the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed.
The Cullen–Harrison Act
It’s 1933 and a United States Senator and a Congressman sponsor a bill changing the definition of “intoxicating beverage.”
The bill is aptly known as the Cullen-Harrison Act. It doesn’t legalize all beer but it makes it legal to sell beer with alcohol content no greater than 3.2 percent.
Such alcohol content, it’s thought, is so low as to not be intoxicating.
Congress enacts the so-called Beer Permit Act on March 21, 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the act into law the next day, and it goes into effect April 7, 1933.
President Roosevelt, signing the Cullen-Harrison Act, famously says, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”
Beer drinkers—and very likely people just looking for a legal drink—rejoice, obviously.
Across the United States, people gather in droves outside breweries. According to reports, people will consume 1.5 million barrels of beer the day the Cullen-Harrison Act becomes the law of the land.
Fast forward to 2009. Justin Smith, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, at the time celebrates the first National Beer Day. Smith sets off a chain of events involving social media and Untappd. In 2017, Virginia officially recognizes National Beer Day.
National Beer Day is accompanied by New Beer’s Eve.
The latter celebrates those brave and thirsty souls that lined up outside our nation’s breweries the day before the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect.
We get to celebrate two beer holidays this week: New Beer’s Eve on Tuesday and National Beer Day on Wednesday.
New Beer’s Eve is an excellent day for operators to showcase their newest beers.
Both days are ideal for highlighting 0.0 and 0.5 beers, along with what we now refer to as “session” beers (5.0 percent and lower).
Oh, and don’t forget to use President Roosevelt’s famous quote when promoting these two holidays: “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”