What was the first beer brewed and sold after prohibition ended in the United States? Was it truly Utica Club beer?

Growing up in Central New York, the first lesson you're taught about Uncle Charlie is that it was the first beer brewed after Prohibition:

On April 7, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the repeal of Prohibition into law, and within minutes, literally, the beer was flowing in Utica."

Is there much truth to this, or just local legend? First let's dig into history of how this was possible.

During Prohibition, the company survived by selling soft drinks, and malt tonics. You can still find these today in Saranac bottles: Root Beer, Ginger Beer, and Black Cherry Soda. When prohibition ended, CNY Central reports F.X. Matt Brewery was the first in with the right paperwork:

F.X. Matt Brewing got the first permit, nationwide, to start selling beer---within an hour and a half of the 18th Amendment repeal. No one's saying how they knew to be ready back then--it certainly takes more than an hour and a half to brew the beer. The Matt family was checking regularly with Washington on the timetable."

F.X. got the permit so fast because they constantly had representatives in Washington DC. They would frequently check up on everything that was going on. Somebody from the brewery "happened to be in Washington" the day Prohibition was repealed.

That company representative received the prized document allowing F.X. Matt to brew beer with alcohol again. The first post-Prohibition beer from the brewery was served on a silver platter as a band played “Happy Days Are Here Again.”"

Typically it takes more than a few hours to brew beer. Rumor has it their may have been a hidden supply of beer in the bowels of the brewery. We can't confirm or deny that, but what we can confirm is this:

On paper, Utica Club beer was the first beer "brewed" and sold after prohibition.




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