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The Wigan Beer Festival always makes an effort to come up with a unique theme relating to our Pieman for our festival and 2013 is no exception as this year he is ‘Ale Capone’ and in selecting this as our theme we aim to raise public awareness that 22nd March 2013 is the 80th anniversary of the end of prohibition in the United States and draw similarities to the prohibition and CAMRA’s battles against the anti alcohol lobby.   

Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen-Harrison Act, legalising weak beers and wines.

CAMRA has been embroiled in conflict with the anti alcohol lobby for several years now (almost as long as the duration of the prohibition). Various battles have been fought to allay public convictions that drink is indisputably bad for us though if you are at our festival reading this then we can rest assured that you have overcome this fear !. We have fought against the media showing an image of handpumps in soaps and dramas where someone is getting drink as quite often bad behaviour form drinking arises from drinking at home prior to going to the pub or drinking shots or spirits and not from having a few pints of real ale.

Another similarity of CAMRA’s campaigns to prohibition can be drawn to the success CAMRA had in 2012 getting a reduction in beer duty on low abvs ales of 2.8% or less. Weak beers were legalised by the Cullen Harrison Act  and subsequent relaxation of the alcohol laws followed so let’s hope the similarity continues and that we see further reductions in the beer duty in years to come.


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