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National Bootlegger’s Day (January 17)


National Bootlegger’s Day is celebrated on January 17, every year, to mark several key events:

  • Start of prohibition in the U.S.
  • Distillation of Templeton Rye whiskey
  • Infamous gangster Al Capone’s birthday

What is most interesting is how all three events are interconnected. It was the onset of prohibition that prompted both Capone and farmers in Templeton, Iowa, to distill their own whiskey to sell. This was how the famous Templeton Rye whiskey was born, and its popularity spread like wildfire during prohibition… so much so that it became Al Capone’s favorite whiskey.

On January 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment officially took effect nationwide. If you’re not up to snuff on your American history, the 18th Amendment was known as national Prohibition. It called for the banning of the manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages. It even banned “intoxicating liquors,” except for those used in religious services, of course.

How can you celebrate the U.S.’s bootlegging history?
🃏  Visit any of the local establishments or attend events keeping the history of bootlegging alive and well! Flaunt your freedom with a glass of whiskey and post your photos (tag @cabarrusweekly)!

📺  Watch the PBS Documentary, “WHISKEY COOKERS: The TEMPLETON RYE BOOTLEGGERS,” on YouTube

🥃  Shake up your own Prohibition Cocktail

More Bootleggin’ Facts:

  • Captain McCoy, an American sea captain, began to smuggle alcohol to Florida from Bimini and the Bahamas at the beginning of the prohibition period.
  • Captain McCoy was known to sell only top brands unadulterated even when many dealers added water to the booze to gain profits. His name was used in the phrase ‘The real McCoy’.
  • The prohibition period and bootlegging gangs led to a rise in organized crime and gang wars compared to previous years.
  • Boardwalk Empire is an American series starring Steve Buscemi based on the prohibition period and portrays the bootlegging days and the characters involved.