Cullen–Harrison Act

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Cullen–Harrison Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Beer Permit Act
  • Permit and Tax Beer Act
Long titleAn Act to provide revenue by the taxation of certain nonintoxicating liquor, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)CHA
NicknamesCullen-Harrison Act of 1933
Enacted bythe 73rd United States Congress
EffectiveMarch 22, 1933
Public lawPub. L. 73–3
Statutes at Large48 Stat. 16
Titles amended27 U.S.C.: Intoxicating Liquors
U.S.C. sections created27 U.S.C. ch. 2A § 64a et seq.
Legislative history

The Cullen–Harrison Act, named for its sponsors, Senator Pat Harrison and Representative Thomas H. Cullen, enacted by the United States Congress on March 21, 1933, and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt the following day, legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight) and wine of similarly low alcohol content, thought to be too low to be intoxicating, effective April 7, 1933. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, "I think this would be a good time for a beer."[1][2]

According to the Cullen–Harrison Act, states had to pass their own similar legislation to legalize sale of the low alcohol beverages within their borders. Roosevelt had previously sent a short message to Congress requesting such a bill. Sale of even low alcohol beer had been illegal in the U.S. since Prohibition started in 1920 following the 1919 passage of the Volstead Act.[3] Throngs gathered outside breweries and taverns to celebrate the return of 3.2 beer.[4] The passage of the Cullen–Harrison Act is celebrated as National Beer Day every year on April 7 in the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Post". Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Smith, Jean Edward (2007). F.D.R. New York: Random House. pp. 305, 316. ISBN 978-0-8129-7049-4. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Swain, Martha H. (2009). Pat Harrison: the New Deal years. University Press of Mississippi. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-60473-263-4.
  4. ^ Courtaway, Robert (January 4, 2013). "Wetter than the Mississippi". Missouri Life. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.

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