Skip to main content

"Rob you of your beer": The British fight against prohibition

In 1920 the United States of America introduced Prohibition, a national ban on the production, transportation and sale of alcoholic drinks which remained in place until 1933. In response, the British brewing industry stepped up its campaign against the temperance movement and argued against the introduction of restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the UK, including through 'local option' - votes on prohibition to be held by local councils.

These leaflets (and preparatory drawing for a poster) were produced between approximately 1920-1926 and are included in the archives of the British Beer and Pub Association (formerly the Brewers' Society). Key themes include Anti-Americanism ("aliens" coming over and interfering with British liberties), appeals to the working class (including new women voters), fears of unemployment and increased taxation, the effects of alcohol on health, and concerns over criminality and immorality caused by Prohibition.