The Illustrious Characters Of The Prohibition.

The Illustrious Characters Of The Prohibition.

We are Volstead.

Our brand is synonymous with the prohibition era and the clue really is in the name, Volstead.

For those who perhaps were not aware, The Volstead act,  was an act to prohibit intoxicating beverages, and to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes.

On January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment became law, a year later the law would come into power and the prohibition would begin and last for 13 long, long, long... long years, thank you Mr Andrew Volstead.

The prohibition era brought some of the most illustrious characters of the 20th century. People used their skill and wit to outsmart each other whether it be to to defend the law, fight it, or even fool everyone involved. 

Let's take a look at a few...

William Frederick McCoy aka "Bill McCoy"

"Bill" McCoy

Bill McCoy was a famous rum runner on the East Coast. A non drinker himself, but he decided to turn into a legendary smuggler of liquor as he wasn't fond of the Law (Who was?) and of course the rewards were huge.

McCoy, customised his boat to make it quick to make sure he avoided the law, and even hid a machine gun on the bow. He took pride in the fact he sold Liquor that was Clean, Uncut and often big brands such as Johnny Walker.

He came up with innovative ways to avoid seizures of the liquor such as the Hams method, With cases containing twelve bottles of liquor being hard to handle, he wrapped bottles with straw, three on the bottom, then two, then one on top, were then tightly sewn in a Burlap bag (as shown below).

Even when caught, McCoy only spent 9 months in jail! Nifty and notorious within the Industry and he earned the well title "The Real McCoy".

Belle Livingstone (Queen of the Speakeasies)


From the mid 1920s to the early 1930s Belle dominated the New York nightlife as she opened exclusive Speakeasies for the rich and wealthy.

Her speakeasies drew celebrities as well as gangsters such as Al Capone and Owney Madden. During a raid by law enforcement, she famously tried to escape onto a roof while dressed in red pyjamas. 

Belle was a badass and a wanted woman for both business and pleasure. A journalist once called her “the most dangerous woman in Europe.” 


George Remus

George was a Criminal defence lawyer, who decided it was more profitable to use holes within the Volstead Act to Bootleg liquor.

He went on to buy alcohol with the intent to sell it for medical, scientific, or industrial purposes with the right authorisation. Remus's plan was to buy most of the stockpile in the US when the prohibition started.

By owning a legitimate alcohol business, he could then divert attention from him selling the majority of his alcohol of illegal use. He paid officials to get what he wanted and to be where he needed to be.

The government eventually caught up to the “King of the Bootleggers,” and while he was in prison, his wife, Imogene, ran off with a Prohibition agent and took Remus’s money. 

On Oct. 6, 1927, on the way to their divorce hearing, Remus’s car chased Imogene’s taxi through Eden Park, where Remus shot her to death.

Remus turned himself in, claimed temporary insanity and The jury found Remus not guilty.



“Izzy” Einstein and Moe Smith

Izzy and Moe were prohibition agents who became famous through their weird and wonderful tactics to catch people breaking the law.

They often went undercover and dressed up in elaborate disguises, such as farmers gravediggers, firemen and even themselves as a joke to fool the bar tender. They often dressed up as women to catch people.  

Although it's probably not one of their best disguises, they became so famous for their inventive tactics they had to disband from the Prohibition Unit. One of the most famous raids was when Izzy and Moe disguised as actors for a medieval film, just to catch actors breaking the law. 

The Prohibition was definitely a strange and interesting time to be alive, but it made people inventive whether that in a negative way or positive way.

So here's cheers to the prohibition and everything it did and didn't do!




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