Beverage Retailers Toast 90th Anniversary of Repeal Day

December 5, 2023 — BETHESDA, MD — American Beverage Licensees (ABL), the nation’s leading trade association representing on- and off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, is raising a glass in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, which took place on December 5, 1933. This milestone marks nearly a century of the restoration of a fundamental American tradition: the right to responsibly enjoy beer, wine and spirits.

Ninety years ago today, the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, bringing an end to the failed experiment of Prohibition. This landmark accomplishment not only reinvigorated the American beverage alcohol industry but also revitalized local economies and jobs, with taverns, pubs and package stores popping up to meet a thirsty nation.

In addition to reversing the past mistake of the 18th Amendment, the 21st Amendment proved to be forward-looking, providing states with broad authority over the regulation of beverage alcohol.  Today, hundreds of thousands of retail beverage licensees across the country successfully compete in marketplaces structured by the state and local licensing and regulation of their businesses.  Operating under carefully considered rules and constantly scrutinized state laws, local beverage retailers continue to demonstrate their commitment to promoting responsible consumption of alcohol, and safe commerce of age-restricted products.

“The 90th anniversary of Repeal Day serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience of the American spirit and the importance of choice and responsible consumption,” said John Bodnovich, Executive Director of ABL. “Our members, representing a diverse array of businesses across the country, are honored to continue the tradition of providing a welcoming and responsible environment for guests to discover and enjoy products new and old, local and imported, traditional and cutting edge.”

The past nine decades have seen the growth and diversification of beverage establishments, which contribute significantly to job creation, tourism, and the overall economic vitality of their communities.  Despite this success, beverage retailers remain watchful for the re-imposition of Prohibition-like policies that would have a negative impact on jobs, tax revenue and economic activity.

“Small beverage businesses are committed to the reputational protection of beverage alcohol and will stay vigilant against any efforts to bring back the failed policies of the past,” said Bodnovich.  “Beverage licensees’ focus continues to be on educating consumers, responsible sales and service practices, and collaborative efforts with industry, lawmakers, regulators and the public to address concerns.”

ABL invites all beverage licensees and their customers nationwide to join the celebration of Repeal Day and encourages everyone to come together to commemorate the end of America’s failed noble experiment.