Ah, Prohibition—an era that conjures images of speakeasies, flapper dresses, and covert sips of contraband liquor. But did you know that amidst the nationwide ban on alcohol, Narragansett Beer was not about to let a little thing like Prohibition stop our brewing legacy?
A Twist of Fate: The Prohibition Era
In the 1920s, the United States underwent a dramatic shift as the 18th Amendment ushered in Prohibition, making the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages illegal. This marked a challenging time for the brewing industry, but Narragansett Beer wasn't about to be silenced.
Crafting a New Identity
Fortunately for us, we already had a business delivering ice, with our own icehouse, ice pond and refrigeration machines. We continued to deliver ice through Prohibition!
Narragansett also obtained a license to brew and sell porter for medicinal purposes. People then thought its low-alcohol and high-iron content benefited pregnant women (yikes!). Only five other U.S. breweries were allowed to do so. The brewery called it Narragansett Dark.
Narragansett also survived by turning its pilsner into a "near-beer" with an alcohol by volume content of less than 0.5 percent. And it made ginger ale, sarsaparilla and root beer, along with a malt tonic for recovering invalids.
A Speakeasy Staple: Smuggled Suds
While Narragansett Beer's "near beer" and other non-alcoholic ventures kept them afloat, whispers of a more daring escapade began to circulate. Like a character from a vintage novel, Narragansett Beer was rumored to have connections with speakeasies—underground establishments that clandestinely served alcohol. Though details remain hazy and mysterious, it's an intriguing chapter in the brewery's story.
Legacy of Adaptation: Emerging Stronger
When Prohibition was finally repealed in 1933, Narragansett Beer emerged from the shadows of near-beer and non-alcoholic experiments. The resilience, adaptability, and commitment to quality that saw them through those challenging years paved the way for their triumphant return to crafting full-strength brews.
A Toast to Narragansett Beer's Prohibition Tale
The Prohibition era was a test of survival for breweries across the nation, and Narragansett Beer not only survived but flourished, leaving an indelible mark on its history. As we raise a glass to the legacy of Narragansett Beer, let's also tip our hats to their ability to weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side. Here's to innovation, resilience, and the art of crafting quality brews against all odds. Cheers to our journey through Prohibition—a tale as captivating as the brews it creates!