December 1933

21st Amendment Ratified, Prohibition Ended


December 5, 2017 marks 84 years since the United States ratified the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and paved the way for the modern three-tier beverage alcohol system.

Eighty Years Ago Today: Michigan Launched the Repeal of Prohibition


Eighty years ago today, an historic and rare state convention was held in Lansing, Mich., where delegates approved by a 99-1 vote ratification of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making it the first of 36 states to do so, ultimately ending Prohibition and repealing the 18th Amendment. Marking this occasion, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) released a detailed economic snapshot of the industry’s multi-billion dollar impact in Michigan. 
Today, the Michigan wine and spirits industry supports more than 23,000 direct jobs, more than 6,600 supplier and service provider jobs related to the industry, and a total of 41,684 jobs statewide. More than 1,400 Michigan workers are directly employed by wine and spirits wholesalers throughout the state. The industry generates a total economic impact of $4.7 billion, a direct economic impact of $1.8 billion, and pays more than $579 million in wages to Michigan-based workers each year, according to an economic analysis released by WSWA and prepared by New York-based John Dunham & Associates.
Beyond wages and economic impact, the wine and spirits industry in Michigan generates more than $350 million in business taxes for state government ($325 million for the federal government) and over $615 million in consumer-paid state taxes on beverage alcohol products.
“The 21st Amendment paved the way for the creation of the modern three-tier beverage alcohol regulatory system that today delivers the widest variety of products available to consumers anywhere in the world in a manner that is safe, well-regulated, and ensures reliable revenue streams for state and federal government,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.
On this day in 1933, Michigan became the first state to take action on an historic Constitutional amendment—the only amendment to repeal another amendment, and the only amendment ratified by the state convention process.  
Wolf pointed out that even today in Europe, Asia and Latin America, consumers regularly suffer because of unsafe, adulterated or counterfeit beverage alcohol. He said these issues are non-existent in the United States largely because of the regulatory framework enacted by the states and federal government under the 21st Amendment.
Wolf concluded, “Michigan has long been a leader in the automotive and manufacturing industries—and today we celebrate Michigan as the state that launched the repeal of Prohibition.”
WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. It is dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesale distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has over 350 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 70 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States. More information is available at

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