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French Lick Winery

Hoosiers and Their Hooch: The Road from Prohibition to Repeal


Posted on 5/17/2018 by Visit French Lick West Baden

Visit French Lick West Baden, French Lick West Baden Museum, French Lick Winery & Spirits of French Lick have partnered to shed light on the Hoosiers and Their Hooch Exhibit provided by the Indiana Historical Society. The Display is being housed at the Visitor Center until June 14. The Museum has a  Pluto shot glass available for purchase and The Winery/Spirits of French Lick offer wine and spirit tastings.

The prohibition of alcohol "the noble experiment" in the early 1900's created the enterprise of homemade hooch making in backwoods stills and of course bootlegging. Indiana had one of the toughest prohibition laws, even outlawing medicinal liquor. Indiana started making laws against the consumption of alcohol as early as 1842, full federal prohibition didn't occur until 1920, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol, as well as the import and export of such beverages into the United States. In 1925 Indiana took it a step further with the Wright "Bone-Dry" Law, it made it illegal to even buy and consume alcohol.





Alcohol consumption was thought to be immoral, to cause crime and corruption. It was perceived that Prohibition would  be the answer for solving many social problems, including poor hygiene, poor health, and tax burdens created by prisons and poor houses.



Across the country crime spread with the illegal production of alcohol in hidden distilleries, people from all walks of life participated in the bootlegging of moonshine, barbers to politicians could be found helping to distribute. Orange County Indiana had its fair share of illegal distilleries making everything from corn whiskey to apple brandy. In certain areas of the county a colored rock would be placed outside to let those who were interested know that the brew was ready for pickup on a particular day.


December 1933, the repeal of the 18th Amendment made alcohol legal again. Indiana continued to have some of the strictest religion led laws in the nation, making it illegal to purchase alcohol on Sundays until 2018.