Beginning at 6 a.m. today and continuing until 2 a.m. Saturday, the lines at Nathan’s will be longer than ever: The beer is on the house. One hundred barrels of 3.2 percent sudsy brew will flow freely into an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 glasses and, to accompaniment of sizzling hot dogs and fries, provide the impetus for many a sing-along: Brooklyn’s “Brew Year’s Eve” of 1933 is being commemorated.

April 6, 1933 was a red-letter day in beer history; after 13 years of Prohibition, and many attempts and few successes at “home brews,” beer was on the road to becoming legal again. In March, Congress passed a bill permitting the sale of beer and wine with no more than 3.2-percent alcohol content. The first shipments began arriving in the U.S. in June and were welcomed by a beer-thirsty nation. Prohibition came to a complete and final end with ratification of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933.

Brooklynites were mighty beer-thirsty and were eagerly awaiting the day 3.2-percent would become legal on April 7. There was a rush on the Brooklyn Board of Health on April 6 for permits but alas there were no blank forms. The following item appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of April 6, 1933:

“There was a concerted rush throughout the city today to get on the beer bandwagon so that the customers might have their 3.2 percent brew when it becomes legal tomorrow.” {read more} Brooklyn Eagle