Prohibition and Brand-Name Liquor

628x471Some credit Prohibition for bringing about the habit of requesting liquor by brand. Supposedly, before Prohibition, when liquor was legal, men ordered gin or scotch or whiskey from the bartender without specifying a brand name. Once it was illegal and there were no guarantees about what came in the bottle–poison, colored water, wood alcohol–men (and now women) started ordering by brand to ensure quality. Of course, that didn’t ensure any such thing, as bottles could be refilled or labels counterfeited, but it was an attempt to get a better quality. As Daniel Okrent says in his book Last Call, “in too many places, if you ordered Brand X, you got Brand X; if you ordered Dewar’s or Gordon’s, you paid twice as much–and got Brand X.”

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Published in: on September 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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