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100 years ago in Spokane: Home brewing rampant in homes, cellars

The Chronicle proclaimed widespread flaunting of alcohol laws. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The Chronicle proclaimed widespread flaunting of alcohol laws. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a big headline which might apply to today: “Home Breweries Run Wide Open in City.”

The difference, of course, was that these were illegal home breweries, in violation of the state’s prohibition law.

When the law took effect in 1916, about a half-dozen large Spokane breweries shut down, but the Chronicle said hundreds of small individual breweries had sprung up in their place, in the city’s basements and cellars.

Hardware stores were openly selling brewing apparatus and bottling equipment, sometimes even including a helpful formula for making home brew.

Spokane police, so far, had taken no steps toward stopping home brewers, even though the law specifically stated that homemade beer must not contain more than 1 percent alcohol and must be for the personal use of the maker. The home brew coming out of Spokane basements, said the Chronicle, “may contain even more kick than the beer turned out by the large breweries.”

The city’s chief of detectives said that his men would be more vigilant and might start making tests of homemade beer to see how much alcohol it contained.

Also on this date

(From Associated Press)

1947: President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, which reorganized America’s armed forces as the National Military Establishment and created the Central Intelligence Agency.


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