Prohibition in Amarillo

  • Prohibition law had been in effect since 1912, so little change when Prohibition became federal law
  • Many in the community bought alcohol from New Mexico, then shifted across border when Prohibition passed

Additional Resources:

Amarillo Globe News
100 years of Amarillo, decade by decade

The Roaring Twenties
One-half percent beer illegal
Amarillo Daily News, Jan. 6, 1920
By a margin of one vote the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of Congress to define intoxicating liquors as it applied to war-time prohibition. In a 5-4 opinion, the justices let stand the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of beverages containing one-half percent or more of alcohol.
“The Wets”were declared exempt from the enforcement act when it was determined that its 2.75 percent beer was manufactured before the decree went into effect.
Amarillo Daily News, Jan. 17, 1920
As reported in the Daily News: “Nationwide prohibition by constitutional amendment, the dream for years of those opposed to the sale of liquor became effective tonight at midnight with the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the two government agencies entrusted with enforcement of the new law ready to take drastic action against all violators.“
 Prohibition Is History As Repeal Ratified
Amarillo Daily News, Dec. 6, 1933
Two-thirds of the nation’s states approved repealing prohibition, ending the nation’s experiment with teetotaling. The Volstead Act, which prohibited the sale, manufacture or consumption of alcohol, finally was tossed out. During prohibition, illegal speakeasies popped up across the country, and many continued to imbibe. Outlawing the sale of liquor also encouraged the spread of illegal breweries and bootlegging throughout the country.