Prohibition Left Sacramental Wine at the Altar

In Splendid Summer, Grace Wentworth discovers a winery’s secret to staying solvent during Prohibiton — it held the contract for altar wine with the Southern California Archdiocese. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution exempted imbibing wine for sacramental reasons. Congregations reportedly grew because wine could be obtained directly from religious leaders.

Another exemption to the 18th Amendment existed for medicinal purposes. This meant that extended families sometimes had the same ailment for years. In an early issue of Coronado Tent City News, I saw an advertisement for Budweiser that touted it as “Pure” “Healthful” and “Delicious”. Budweiser poured through the Roaring Twenties.

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