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Prohibition of Alcohol

America's discomfort with alcohol developed in the mid-19th century. Previously, alcoholic beverages were an established facet of American society: George Washington operated a whiskey distillery, Thomas Jefferson dabbled in viticulture, and Samuel Adams had his brewery. Hard cider and rum enjoyed mass appeal, and rum was a common barter item in the cash-strapped New World. Even religiously rigid groups such as the Puritans and the Quakers stressed moderation rather than abstinence.

Following the Revolution, the expanding western frontier contributed to turning the nation's tastes from cider and rum to whiskey and beer. Isolated western farmers found it easier to transport whiskey rather than raw grain to urban markets. In the 1840s, immigrants introduced German yeast strains and brewing methods, resulting in lager beers that kept better ...

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