Hops, Barley and Ice Cream

After what Andrew Volstead's Act did for ice cream, someone should come up with a new flavor in his honor: Volstead Vanilla anyone?

Politicians are rarely viewed in a positive light, especially these days. On occasion, there are the rare public servants who are held in high esteem. For me, it was the gentlemen of the 66th Congress. “Who,” you may ask were these guys? I’ll give you a hint: 18th Amendment.

That’s right, these were the guys who ratified the Volstead Act, more commonly known as Prohibition. I get that I may be alone in my fondness for Chairman Knute Nelson and crew especially when one considers how the 18th Amendment brought about a host of unintended consequences – speakeasies, bootleggers, Al Capone and the like. However, when I consider what these guys did for the ice cream industry, I get the warm and fuzzies.

When the Dry 66th outlawed alcohol throughout the United States, they limited the options for Americans to engage in self-indulgent behavior. Naturally, the citizens of this great land turned to ice cream. Ice cream sales shot through the roof, and the industry boomed.

Imagine eating ice cream from the same people who gave you Budweiser.

American breweries got into the act. Anheuser-Busch, Yuengling, Stroh’s and others converted their operations over to manufacturing ice cream — although many were often no more than fronts for their previously produced product.

When the 73rd Congress came along and repealed Prohibition, ice cream consumption took a hit and breweries turned back to making beer. However, one can still get Stroh’s ice cream in parts of Michigan.

So the next time you’re enjoying some ice cream, take a moment to thank those brave ice cream advocates of the 66th Congress.

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