If Franklin Delano Roosevelt were alive today, he might say, “I think this would be a good time for beer.” That’s because April 6 marks the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in the United States, which Roosevelt approved when he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 23, 1933.
Roosevelt said this famous quote while signing the legislation, which allowed the sale and consumption of beer in the U.S. for the first time in more than 13 years. While the president signed the measure in March, it didn’t go into effect until 12:01 a.m. on April 7, 1933. People were so eager to get their hands on legal alcoholic beverages that they gathered outside breweries on the night of April 6 in anticipation of the big event, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
That year, people dubbed April 6 “New Beer’s Eve,” and the name has stuck. April 7 is now known as National Beer Day, but the fun shouldn’t be limited to just one day a year.
At the time, the legislation only made beer legal if it contained less than 3.2 percent alcohol. Prohibition officially ended Dec. 5, 1933, when the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th Amendment.
While supporters of Prohibition had hoped it would slow alcoholism in the U.S. and help improve the country’s morals, it instead led to the development of a black market and a rise in organized crime. Many continued to drink alcohol illegally throughout Prohibition, and by the time Roosevelt allowed Americans to drink watered-down beer in the spring of 1933, they were happy to drink whatever they could get their hands on.
Today, New Beer’s Eve is simply celebrated by drinking your favorite variety of beer and enjoying the fact that, as long as you’re the right age, it’s perfectly legal. In many countries, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, and many of the states in the U.S. seem to share that opinion.
Some bars and breweries around the country hold special New Beer’s Eve events, but you don’t need one of those to remember this hallowed day. Just crack open your favorite drink and relive your college memories as you celebrate 83 years of legally drinking beer.