National Beer Day (USA)

National Beer Day is celebrated in the United States every year on April 7, marking the day that the Cullen–Harrison Act was enacted after having been signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933. This led to the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed on December 5, 1933, with ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. April 6, the day prior to National Beer Day, is known as New Beer’s Eve. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” The law went into effect on April 7 of that year in states that had enacted their own law allowing such sales. The beer could contain up to 3.2% alcohol by weight (or 4.05% by volume) compared to the 0.5% limit of the Volstead Act, because 3.2% was considered too low to produce intoxication. People across the country responded by gathering outside breweries, some beginning the night before. On that first day, 1.5 million barrels of beer were consumed, inspiring the future holiday. Today, April 7 is recognized as National Beer Day and April 6 is known as New Beer’s Eve.

The Cullen–Harrison Act, was named after its sponsors, Senator Pat Harrison and Representative Thomas H. Cullen, and was enacted by the United States Congress March 21, 1933 and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt the following day, legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight) and wine of similarly low alcohol content, thought to be too low to be intoxicating, effective April 7, 1933. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

According to the Cullen-Harrison Act, states had to pass their own similar legislation to legalize sale of the low alcohol beverages within their borders. Roosevelt had previously sent a short message to Congress requesting such a bill. Sale of even low alcohol beer had been illegal in the U.S. since Prohibition started in 1920 following the 1919 passage of the Volstead Act. On April 7, 1933, throngs gathered outside breweries and taverns for their first legal beer in 13 years. The passage of the Cullen–Harrison Act is celebrated as National Beer Day every year on April 7 in the United States.

However The Cullen-Harrison Act was not the official end of prohibition in the US (that happened on December 5, 1933 when the 21st Amendment was ratified). What the Cullen-Harrison Act did do was redefine an “intoxicating beverage” under the Volstead Act. As such, April 7 is a beer specific holiday and should not be confused with Repeal Day celebrated on December 5. National Beer Day was first created in 2009 by Justin Smith of Richmond, Virginia. After his friend, Mike Connolly, Smith started a Facebook page that was noticed by Colorado Beer Examiner, Eli Shayotovich. Smith’s promotion of the new holiday via various social media outlets was rewarded when the beer drinking app, “Untappd”, created a badge for National Beer Day that rewarded participants that checked a beer into the app on April 7. National Beer Day has since been trending every year on April 7 using the hashtag #NationalBeerDay. National Beer Day was officially recognized by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Congressional Record by Congressman Dave Brat in 2017. In 2018, House Joint Resolution 90 was introduced in Virginia General Assembly to officially recognize National Beer Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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