Reason Podcast

On Repeal Day, Remember That Prohibition May Be Over, But Its Ripple Effects Are Still Making Drinking Worse: Podcast

Drinks Reform editor Jarrett Dieterle talks about how Prohibition came about, and his new report on America's dumbest booze restrictions.


Raise your glass, folks! Today is Repeal Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of federal alcohol prohibition in the United States.

To celebrate the occasion, I interviewed Jarrett Dieterle, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and the author of a new report on "America's Dumbest Drinking Laws," about how Prohibition came about, what forces were empowered when alcohol was illegal, how alcohol laws changed after repeal, and the many ways in which the effects of Prohibition still linger today.

I'm a fan of cocktails and spirits, and Dieterle is an expert on both the history and current state of alcohol policy in the United States, so naturally the conversation turned to the many ways the two are, and have always been, intertwined.

What was the link between the temperance movement and anti-immigrant sentiments? How did drinks and drinking change during Prohibition? What are some of the bizarre and pointless ways in which states are still making it difficult to buy, mix, and consume alcohol? And—maybe most importantly—what should you be drinking tonight to celebrate Repeal Day?

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo Credit: ID 87700464 © Nomadsoul1 |

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  1. Alcohol prohibition may be long gone, and weed prohibition on its way out, but nannies gotta nanny-Right now, it looks like tobacco/nicotine are in the prohibitionists’ crosshairs.

  2. “I never eat cookies
    ‘Cause cookies have yeast
    And one little bite
    Turns a man to a beast!
    Oh, can you imagine
    The awful disgrace
    Of a man in the gutter
    With crumbs on his face?”

  3. Promoted by the “dry” crusaders, the movement was led by pietistic Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition, Democratic, and Republican parties. It gained a national grass roots base through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

    This allowed the Mafia and other gangs to grow and gain vast wealth. Joe Kennedy even got his sons into politics on that money.

  4. We must be careful what we repeal.
    We should only repeal the things we don’t need in life, such as civil rights, civil liberties, indoor plumbing, electricity, food, cars, guns, houses, airplanes, our children, our eyeballs, our cerebral cortex, shoes, clothing and our genitals.
    Only then we will be happy and live a fruitful and productive life.

  5. It is 4am on Sunday morning.

    Just got off my 10 hour shift.

    I know the fridge is empty. Been working and not much left.

    I stop to fill the gas tank. Some food items here and a wall of beer.

    I can’t buy the beer because somehow Sunday at 4 am is some religious thing.

    Prohibition is not over. It is the state taking the graft money.

  6. hi everyone i say found a powerful formula that combines the highest quality ingredients to address your weight loss from multiple perspectives, 24 hours per day. By
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  7. I just was filling out an insurance form and noted that it asked if I smoked/vaped. Not one or the other, but a single checkbox for either.

    The nanny state always needs something…

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