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Library Research Guides

Beer Brewing History in the United States

Finding Primary Resources for Prohibition and Temperance

Prohibition of alcohol sales in the United States affected many brewers, as did the temperance movement and teetotalism. This pages focuses on primary resources available through the Bentley Historical Library, the Clements Library, and U-M Library Special Collections. Secondary sources are also available and can be found using search techniques in the General Collections and Databases tab of this guide. 

The following are examples of what resources are available on each topic from the Bentley, the Clements, and U-M Library Special Collections libraries.

Bevo Building at Anheuser-Busch Brewery

CC Attribution: "Bevo Building" by Judy Hitzeman https://flic.kr/p/88Mzue Bevo was a non-alcoholic beverage brewed by Anheuser-Busch during Prohibition. "Renard the fox," pictured in the tiles above, was featured on Bevo's packaging and advertisements.

The Temperance Movement

Temperance developed in early America. It was a movement that discouraged the drinking of hard liquor. The American Temperance movement formed in 1826. Its more extreme form, teetotalism, formed around 1839 and was against drinking any form of alcohol including beer. Both movements were considered to be tied to women's suffrage, abolitionism, and religion.

Prohibition

Legal prohibition of alcohol sales existed in the United States from 1920 to 1933 and affected American culture greatly. Its impact on brewing was immediate- brewers had to either find something legal to brew instead of beer (most chose beverages that contained malt) or shut down entirely. When Prohibition ended, the landscape of brewing in America was different. The industry was leaner as some breweries never bounced back.