Daviess County was plagued with bootleggers in the early 20th Century. One example of bootlegging was found in 1924 when a liquor raid uncovered a bootlegger site containing four stills, 21 barrels of mash, 30 5-gallon jugs, 100 1-gallon jugs, and seven gallons of corn whiskey. Also found was the necessary apparatus and materials necessary for whiskey making as well as four dead rats in one of the barrels.
Up to this time, this raid was the biggest liquor raid ever made in Daviess County. Just two days prior, two stills had been captured in a nearby town.
It was estimated a barrel of mash will make eight to 10 gallons of whiskey that would sell for about $10 a gallon; therefore, the mash destroyed represented some $2,000 or $3,000 worth of whiskey.
In 1933, the 21st Amendment made the sale of alcoholic beverages legal. Now, beer could be purchased like any other soft drink. Many people realized that much bootlegging existed and thought the bootleggers might as well pay taxes on their product. There were several ways the new law would bring in new revenue:
- It imposed a one cent per gallon inspection fee.
- Brewers ere required to buy a $500 license each year.
- Wholesalers were required to pay an annual license tax of $50.
- Restaurants and other places that sold beer for consumption on their premises were required to pay a ten dollar tax.
- Grocers and merchants who sold beer in packets were required to pay an annual tax of $55.
A restaurant in a small Northwest Missouri town received the first consignment of 35 cases of beer. In approximately eight hours, eight cases had already been sold and a new order for an additional 25 cases had been made.
From: “State ratifies 21st Amendment,” TGD v65 n8 8/24/33; “Beer in Missouri due in a few days” GNM v69 n28 3/16/33; “4 stills, 21 bbls. mash, 130 jugs, 3 men caught” TGD v56 n18 11/20/24
— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO