This is the fifth in a series of blogs here at onlinealcoholclass.com looking at the interesting history of alcohol during the Prohibition Era (1919-1933).
We have already discussed how common it was for Prohibition agents to confiscate booze and then sell it right back to the original owners. It also was quite common to accept bribes, with the average Speakeasy paying out about $400 per month in bribe money to local law and political officials.
Chicago was a major hub for illegal bootlegging activity. In the summer of 1920 in Chicago, 134,000 gallons of whiskey (670,000 bottles) vanished from a warehouse where it was being stored after being seized.
It has been estimated that during Prohibition more than 50 million gallons of whiskey help in government warehouses went missing.
Without the help of law enforcement the Volstead Act was doomed to failure. There were more corrupt Prohibition agents than honest ones, many of whom were on the regular payroll of mob figures. The portrayal of the situation in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” is fairly close to accurate. While there not have been a character named Nucky Thompson, the other big players of the day, Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein and Waxey Gordon are all real-life figures who made millions on illegal alcohol.
I hope you are enjoying this series because we will continue to look at it in the next onlinealcoholclass.com blog.