Business Insider/Nick Oza 2.4.16 – Madison, Illinois, was the first town in the country to ban drinking beer at home in 1882.
The town of 7,500 had a thriving beer industry that had grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.
The only problem?
The local government was opposed to it.
“They were against the idea,” Madison resident Robert Sturgess told the Chicago Tribune.
“They wanted to control it.”
In 1882, the town of Madison in Illinois banned beer drinking at home.
The local population of 5,800 people was only 3% female and had no history of alcoholism.
So why would the town ban drinking at the tap?
It was a common sentiment in the era.
In an 1882 article in the Chicago Daily Tribune, one of Madisons citizens, Joseph R. Johnson, told his fellow citizens to stop drinking beer, as it would be a burden on the town’s treasury.
In 1885, a similar sentiment was echoed in an article in The Chicago Journal.
“I am in favor of beer being drunk,” an article from 1884 stated.
“I am against beer being drank on the streets.”
The Madison town ordinance of 1882 was similar to many that followed.
The prohibition was not limited to drinking beer.
It was also a general prohibition, with exceptions for “mild liquor, wine, and spirits.”
The town of Sturgesville in 1883, in another article, warned against alcohol being consumed on the street, as the public was “not accustomed to the habit.”
The prohibition would continue for another 18 years, until it ended in 1888, when a new law took effect, which included a limit on how many people could drink in one sitting.
That same year, another beer prohibition passed, but it was more restrictive than the 1882 ban.
It banned the consumption of beer by children and allowed adults to drink it as long as they were accompanied by a child.
It was during Prohibition that Madisons first beer bars began to appear.
In the late 1800s, the brewery at the center of Madisland’s brewing industry opened and Madisons brewery grew from 500 to 1,500 employees.
It also opened a bar called The Peconic, located on the west side of the town, and it was here that locals began to take a taste of Madiison’s beer.
One of the first Madisons bars opened in 1885.
It had a small, cozy tavern, but the decor wasn’t too different from any other bar in town.
A beer tent covered the walls and it looked like a family room.
A few years later, another bar opened on the same block, with the same layout and decor.
This one, called The Tumbleweed, featured a bar with a similar look, but with a full bar and more seating.
The brewery on the other side of town, The Big Tree, opened in 1893.
It wasn’t exactly a brewery, but a bar, as evidenced by the small wooden bar in the front.
The Big Trees bar also featured a wooden bar, but for the most part, it was a place to hang out.
A couple of years later came the first bar in Madison.
The “Pineapple Express,” as it was called, was another beer bar that was a little smaller, but had a similar layout.
The Pines had a bar that had the same look, although it had a different bar decor.
In 1893, the Pineapple Express closed and moved to the now-closed Great Bend, but not before serving the community for another 13 years.
In 1896, Madisons brewers started building a new brewery at a nearby site called the Great Bend.
The brewery was the largest in the state of Illinois, and was called the Madisons Brewery.
It took two years to build, and a lot of work was done to ensure that it was the most efficient and best-quality beer facility in the world.
“We built the brewery with the intent of making the best beer in the nation,” Madisons brewmaster, Frank E. McConkey, said in a Chicago Tribune article.
“It was built to the highest standard, with one goal in mind: to make Madisons finest product possible.”
In 1897, Madiisons Brewery was named the first of two Chicago breweries to receive a gold medal in the National Beer Hall of Fame.
It would also receive a medal for excellence in brewing.
The following year, Madisison received another medal, this time for excellence for its beer production.
In 1899, the Madiresses Brewery also won a silver medal for its best beer.
The next year, the Chicago Brewer’s Association named the Madisisons Brewery one of the ten best in the U.S. In 1910, the United States Beer Hall Of Fame named the brewery one of its ten best breweries.
In 1920, the Big Tree Brewing Company was formed.
By the time the Big Trees moved