Your Representative Said, “Lager is Different”

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November 17, 2014 by beerbaron52

The temperance movement began in the early 19th century almost 100 years before Prohibition. During that time there was a preponderance of thought that lager bier was different than distilled liquor and top fermented ales and should NOT be prohibited. Some felt that if lager was promoted it could stem the tide of Prohibition.

One of the reasons Prost went to the trouble to make our bier just as it had been made in Germany when lager was invented, was the writing we uncovered that claimed that the extra steps in production and quality of ingredients led to a “more healthful” alcohol.

German brewers often described their product as special and different, not only from whiskey, but from other malt beverages as well. Several members of the House also saw lager bier in this light and sought to have the tax on lager reduced. John B Steele (D NY) desired to “reduce the tax on those fermented liquors that have not the intoxicating effect which strong liquors have. Of all of them, lager bier is the least intoxicating.

The discussion of lager bier provoked frivolity among representatives. Some Congressmen claimed that lager had little or no effect while Samuel C Fessenden (R. ME) believed that it did more damage than whiskey or brandy. Francis P Blair, Jr. (R. MO) responded saying, “I have drank a great deal of it, and never felt any affect from it.”

From Amy Mittelman’s book Brewing Battles

NEXT INSTALLMENT: How lager bier played a role in starting the Republican Party.

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