Buy Now, “Sich Beeilen”!

The German-American press did not limit itself to ads about beer and related festivals, charming as many of these were. The Detroiter Abend-Post in a Sunday supplement of April 21, 1918 contained a dramatic full page ad for liquors and various wines, no beer in this case.

This was not so far ahead of a June 30, 1919 federal ban on selling liquor with more than 2.75% alcohol by weight. After that the 18th Amendment was ratified, in January 1919, to take effect nationally one year later. That law banned any beverage alcohol, period.

In addition to this national dimension, the states for years had imposed their own partial or total prohibition. Michigan’s was slated to start, state-wide, May 1, 1918. (See further details in this informative 1995 Michigan history).

One way or another, the end was in sight when the ad was placed. One senses the liquor merchant was going for broke. Let it all hang out so to speak.

Not many newspapers would have accepted such advertising, or on that scale, but the German press had been in the habit of advertising alcohol for many years. In for a pfennig, in for a pound, if I may mix metaphors and nations.

Anything you want we got it right here in the U.S.A. Just buy up before the law and Senator Volstead could catch you, because in this case they can, and did (in many cases). That’s a Motor City shakedown you don’t want.

Note re image: the image above was extracted from the original ad linked in the text, available via the Chronicling America newspapers digital archive. Image is included for educational and historical purposes. All intellectual property in the source mentioned belongs solely to the lawful owner or authorized users. All feedback welcomed.