During the 1920s and some of the 1930s, the making and sale of alcoholic beverages was banned in the United States. It seems astonishing to think it now, but the law was in place for close to 13 years, and although it reduced the amount of public drunkenness it had the side-effect of increasing the amount of organised crime as alcoholic beverages continued to be made and sold on the black market through “speakeasy” bars and similar watering holes. Although the law has long since been repealed, there are those who consider home brewers to be the product of that time.

It is unquestionable that brewing your own beer brings with it a certain amount of freedom, and with that freedom comes responsibility. When the era of prohibition was in full swing, much of the black market alcohol available was made using less rigorous safety standards, and on occasion was so contaminated that it caused serious health problems and even death. Although this is rarely the case now, it is sensible to make sure that you follow safety standards in making your beer.

The practice of good safety standards is something that becomes second nature before too long. Apart from anything, if you have got the beer wrong it will taste wrong. At least in this case you can go out and buy regular beer that has passed stringent testing, whereas in the days of prohibition anyone who wanted to carry on drinking took their life in their own hands.

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