Life Behind Bars

The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

The story of how American drinkers and whiskey distillers survived Prohibition, bootleggers, and the mob.

Photo by Imagno/Getty Images

Nearly 84 years after the end of Prohibition, the story of how American drinkers and distillers survived the dry period is, amazingly, still the subject of much attention. Rum runners and bootleggers continue to be the subject of TV shows and movies, and modern speakeasies are now popular around the world. Download and listen on iTunes.

Listen on SoundCloud:

But the reality of the dry period was certainly a lot less glamorous and a lot more dangerous for the common drinker who was risking his or her own life with every contraband cocktail. On this episode of Life Behind Bars, we look at the causes of Prohibition, why it failed, and its long-term consequences on American society and culture.

The podcast’s hosts, Noah Rothbaum and David Wondrich, are also joined by special guest Joe Riggs from the episode’s partner Redemption Rye Whiskey, for a taste of a special 18-year-old rye. Rye whiskey was almost killed by Prohibition and Redemption was started with the mission of returning the whiskey to its rightful place behind the bar.

Life Behind Bars features The Daily Beast’s Drink + Food editor Noah Rothbaum and its senior drinks columnist David Wondrich as they discuss the greatest bartenders of all time and how they changed what the world drinks.