BARREL 21 DISTILLERY & DINING
Barrel 21 Distillery & Dining is an ode to the role Central Pennsylvania played in moving the United States towards the ratification of the 21st Amendment.
Unique Spirits. Resourcefulness. Local Ingredients. Community.
In January 1919, the United States Congress ratified the 18th Amendment, establishing the prohibition of alcohol. The Eighteenth Amendment emerged from the belief that alcohol could be attributed to virtually all negative parts of society - a belief that was a foundation part of the organized efforts of the temperance movement and Anti-Saloon League. These organized efforts led campaigns at the local, state, and national levels to combat its manufacture, sale, distribution, and consumption.
Despite the Amendment's ratification, alcohol consumption flourished during Prohibition thanks to the savvy production methods created by bootleggers across the country. At first, many bootleggers were located in urban areas - cities with significant demand for bootlegged spirits and speakeasies that were willing to purchase the spirits for their clientele. These bootleggers would legally purchase ingredients like corn, sugar, and yeast, mix them together, and transform the mixture into a spirit.
These bootlegged spirits were extremely potent and unpredictable, as the ingredients were often changing based on availability. Bartenders in speakeasies began incorporating other ingredients, like juices and bitters, to mask the intense taste - officially making cocktails fashionable.
Government officials soon became wise, though, to certain products that were suddenly selling at astronomic rates - leading to a series of embargos on the distribution of certain products into urban city limits and across long distances.
RURAL BOOTLEGGING FLOURISHES
As urban bootlegging became more difficult, rural areas began taking over the bootlegging business. Unlike city bootleggers, rural bootleggers were able to either grow their own ingredients or trade and barter with their neighbors for specific crops. Bootlegging often became a community effort in these rural areas.
Central Pennsylvania became known as a central hub for moonshine production. High concentrations of minerals, like limestone, and the availability of crops made it easy to produce spirits like whiskey. Not to mention, the area was relatively desolate, allowing bootleggers to operate without as much survelliance.
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA'S BOOTLEGGERS
The availability of bootlegging resources drew the attention of several famous bootleggers, including Prince Farrington and Bill Pickles.
Prince Farrington, one of the most famous bootleggers of the time, was active through the early to mid-20th century. Farrington began his illicit career in North Carolina before coming north to the hills and hollows of Central Pennsylvania, amassing a huge fortune along the way. Eventually, Farrington became known as the "King of Bootlegging" and the "Robin Hood of Central Pennsylvania."
Part of Farrington's fame stemmed from his overwhelming generosity. When he wasn't actively bootlegging or in jail, records show he gave millions of dollars to those in the surrounding Central Pennsylvania communities - often to repair churches, provide clothing and food to poverty-stricken families, and even rebuilt a family's home after a fire.
The 18th Amendment was overridden by the ratification of the 21st Amendment, which made the production and distribution of alcohol legal once again. After years in prison, Farrington ended up dying in 1956 from cirrhosis of the liver. His legacy of resourcefulness and community, though, has remained a central tenet throughout this part of the country for over 100 years.