All Commentary
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cheers to the Market’s End of Prohibition

Here's to the liberty to consume whatever I please and use it for the good things in life.

Yesterday, December 5, was the 83rd anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. Prohibition, of course, was the tragic disaster brought on by the 18th Amendment. Not only was it inherently a bad idea (I mean, banning alcohol because “it be the devil’s drink” is the wretched byproduct of bad theology), but it had catastrophic effects in many places like Chicago.

Basic economics will tell us that where there is a demand, a supply will most likely arise. When such a supply is suppressed by government action, but the demand persists, those who demand will find a way to access supply. And thus, black markets are born – the enterprise of men like Al Capone. Because of their illegality, black market suppliers must a) raise the price of their product above what they would normally be in order to hide and defend their practice from investigation, and b) utilize violence in order to combat the authorities. And as any wannabe mobster forgets, this violence was brutal and relentless. People want their alcohol, dammit, and they’re gonna get it.

When a supply is suppressed by government action, but thedemand persists, those who demand will find a way to access supply.One of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s few contributions to liberty was his addition of a plank in his 1932 presidential campaign for the repeal of Prohibition. For the first time, in 1933, Congress formally proposed the 21st Amendment to state conventions, which would bring about the rightful death of an abomination.

To celebrate the glory of our saved republic, I did what I could to honor our liberty. I went on the hunt for the perfect whiskey to do this. Through the guidance of a friendly liquor store manager, I discovered the wonderfully smooth taste of Buffalo Trace. It is a straight Kentucky bourbon, and I enjoyed the sweet burn of righteous justice. While Jameson is by and large my favorite whiskey for its classic flavor, Buffalo Trace offered itself as a contemporary treat with a rich history.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery has a long and proud tradition. Though its name has changed often, its location has essentially been the same since the late 18th century. While the company itself may even have changed, the site upon which Buffalo Trace’s namesake bourbon was born in 1999 has been distilling since 1775. That’s right folks: since the nascent days of the original liberty movement, the American revolution. The distillery felt immense pressure during the wicked days of temperance.

Through the leadership of Albert B. Blanton, president of the then-George T. Stagg Bourbon Distillery, the distillery gained one of only four special permits granted to create “medicinal whiskey” during Prohibition. The historic site not only survived with Blanton, but thrived, and continued on into a bold century. I felt that I could only do the Blanton and other 21sters true homage by enjoying the fruits of their labor – drinks for all mankind.  

I am not a master of alcoholic tastes; I am simply an average man with an above average joy of fine things. A good whiskey or a good beer are to be celebrated and consumed. I salute the artist craftsmen and visionaries like Blanton who dedicate their talents to the contentment of men like me, who simply want to enjoy my God-given right as an American: to have the liberty to consume whatever I please and use it for the good things in life.

  • Stanton Skerjanec is an economics and government instructor at Liberty Common High School, a classic liberal arts charter school in Fort Collins, CO.