As anyone knows even during bad economic times vices are very rarely hurt. Alcohol sales have steadily increased in Ohio. The following graph is retail alcohol sales in Ohio for seven years,
It is common knowledge that the Speakeasies thrived during the Great Depression.
Even before America’s involvement in the First World War, attitudes towards alcohol and drunkenness were moving in a harsher direction. As early as the 1870s groups were formed protesting saloons and the trafficking of alcohol. In 1916, nearly half of the states, 23 of 48, adopted an anti-saloon legislation. Finally, in January of 1919, the 18th amendment was ratified. It banned all production and distribution of intoxicating drink. This set about a nation wide love affair with underground, swanky joints that sold illegal liquor. These establishments were called speakeasies. One would need a secret code or carry a membership card to enter, but once inside they were lively and swinging. In an era known as the roaring twenties, the only place to let loose was at a speakeasy. In 1933, due in large part to the misery of the Great Depression, the 21st amendment repealed prohibition with 93% of Congress approval. Americans could once again belly up to a bar freely and not drink in fear of a raid from a John Q-Law.
The anti-smoking establishment likes to blame the lack of bar business on the economy, yet during the great depression Speakeasies thrived.
In 1933, 282122 illegal stills were seized. In 1925 there were 10000 speakeasies in Chicago and 15000 in Detroit. In 1926 there were 30000 in New York, these figures show a clear lack of support by the public and by 1933 there were almost 220000 speakeasies in the USA.
If an alcohol related case reached court, juries were often lenient as many of them were drinking themselves. In fact one jury in San Francisco was found drinking the evidence! This shows that prohibition was ignored by many people so the law was in effect almost useless as their was still a strong demand for alcohol, and people were still drinking.
As you can see the alcohol sales to bars was steadily increasing just as retail sales were, right up to the smoking ban and then took a dive. People never learn. Prohibitionist laws never work, They are bad policy and bad for business.