Alcohol History in Connecticut

  • Asylum is the only legal distillery in Fairfield County since January 17, 1919, with the ratification of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors...within the United States.  That's over 95 years!
  • Two states in the Union did not ratify the 18th Amendment: Rhode Island and Connecticut. In fact, the reaction of the people of Connecticut to Prohibition can be summed up in one word: hostility.
  • Yet it was clear that the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in Connecticut did little to stop its consumption in the Nutmeg State. Enforcement of the Volstead Act by the paltry squad of 13 federal prohibition agents assigned here was ineffective.
  • 1933 the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition. Termed by President Herbert Hoover a "noble experiment," Prohibition received a chilly reception in Connecticut from beginning to end.
  • Prohibition was not enforced beyond three miles off the coast; therefore, many ships offshore unloaded liquor onto speedboats which then transported the cargo to shore, especially in Connecticut and Rhode Island.  
  • Only one "dry" town remains today in Connecticut, Bridgewater

Other Fun Facts

  • George Washington was the only founding father to commercially operate a distillery and it was the largest distillery in the nation at the time producing whiskey that was not bottled, branded or aged.
  • During Prohibition, The Reservoir area in the North End of Bridgeport was still quite rural, and building lots could be procured for as little as $75. After a number of raids on illicit distillery operations the Bridgeport Herald dubbed it "Whiskey Hill."
  •  Most often seen painted on the side of a big clay jug, “XXX” stood for moonshine—more specifically, for moonshine that had been triple-distilled.