When Prohibition became the law of the land in 1919, the near-immediate effect (apart from taking everyone’s favorite libations away) was economic disaster. Across the country, countless companies went out of business: breweries, restaurants and taverns closed their doors. Truckers who hauled beer lost their routes. Even barrel makers laid down their mallets. Economists estimated that the 18th Amendment would cost the federal government $11 billion in lost tax revenue.
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