The U. S. Bureau of Internal Revenue…Pre-Prohibition

Last Saturday (December 5) was Repeal Day. Eighty-one years ago, on December 5, 1933, Prohibition ended in the United States. You might think this means we’re going to talk about cocktails this week. Or Prohibition. But instead, we’re going to go a bit farther back. Before there was a ban on alcohol, it was still closely watched and legislated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. And we’ve got the forms to prove it!

Clearly, the Bureau was interested in distilling activities in the early part of the 20th century. Perhaps not as much as they would be, once Prohibition went into effect, but as an archivist, I’m always fascinated by how they documented their processes and actions.

You can read more about the first three forms above online here. They are part of Ms2008-095, the United States Bureau of Internal Revenue Distillery Forms. The last item hasn’t been processed yet, but you can still see it, if you decide to visit us!


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