Alcohol and Drinking History in America: A Chronology

Temperance Movement Calls for Abstinence

1830s.

Abraham Lincoln, who would later become President, held a liquor license (1833) and operated several taverns.5

1830. The average person in the U.S. aged 15 or older drank over seven gallons of absolute alcohol each year (resulting from an average of 9 1/2 gallons of spirits, 1/2 gallon of wine, and 27 gallons of beer), a quantity about three times the current rate.6

1831. There were state temperance societies in every state except Alabama, Illinois, Maine, and Missouri.7 However, every state had local societies.

1832.

1833.

1834.

1835. The American Temperance Union, established eleven years earlier, had created 8,000 local auxiliaries.14

1836.

1838.

The Journal of the American Temperance Union
The Temperance Gazette
Temperance Journal
The Temperance Herald (Providence, RI)
The Temperance Star
The Temperance Recorder (Albany, NY)
The Temperance Reporter
The Temperance Recorder (Philadelphia, PA)
The Standard
TheTemperance Herald (Baltimore, MD)
The Western Temperance Journal
The temperance Herald (Jackson, MI)
The Temperance Advocate
The Temperance Herald (Alton, IL)20

1840s.

1840.

1841. The Martha Washington temperance societies for women were begun and strengthened the Washingtonian temperance movement.28

1842.

1843. The first prohibition law went into effect in the territory of Oregon.31

1844. Lager beer was first produced in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the Fortman and Company brewery.32

1845.

1846. Maine enacted prohibition.39

1847. Lager beer became increasingly popular and a lager brewery was established in Chicago.40

1848. Oregon’s 1843 prohibition law was repealed.41

1849.

1850s. Wines were being commercially produced in Tennessee from terraced vineyards.44

1850.

1851-1900. “The latter half of the nineteenth century became the golden age of the saloon.”47

1851. Maine enacted the first state-wide prohibition against the production and sale of alcohol.48
1852.

1853. Michigan enacted prohibition.52

1854.

1856. Maine repealed it pioneering prohibition law, which was passed in 1851.55

1857. California wine pioneer Agoston Haraszthy built the Buena Vista winery. It grew to 6,000 acres and had offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and London and produced award-winning wines.56

1858. The Illustrated London News reported that “Sparkling Catawba, of the pure, unadulterated juice of the Catawba grape, transcends the Champagne of France.”57

1859. The Rocky Mountain Brewery was the first in Colorado.58

1860s. The first winery in the state of Washington was established near Walla Walla.59

The Bible says to "use a little wine for thy stomach's sake" (1 Timothy 5:23). This caused serious problems for temperance activists, who insisted that alcohol was a poison and that to drink it was a sin. They argued that the Bible was really advising people to rub alcohol on their abdomens.60

1860.

1862.

1863.

1864. Anstie's limit (Anstie's rule or Anstie's alcohol limit) refers to the amount of alcohol that Francis E. Anstie, M.D., (1833-1874) believed, on the basis of his research, could be consumed daily with no ill effects. It is 1.5 ounces of pure ethanol, equivalent to two and one-half standard drinks of beer, wine or distilled spirits.68

Post-1865. After the American Civil War (1861-1865) beer replaced whiskey as preferred beverage of working men.69

1865.

1866. The first brewery in the Territory of Arizona was established in Tucson by Levin and Company.72

1867. The 3,700 breweries in the country produced six million gallons of beer.73

1868. “By 1868, Illinois was producing 225,000 gallons (852,000 liters) [of wine] a year, which was very nearly as much as New York.”74

1869.

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