Colorado has a strange history with alcohol. Today many in the US view the state as the pinnacle in craft brew and beer pubs. Many Americans all across the nation flock to Colorado to enjoy the fresh approach to the craft beer phenomenon taking place in the southwest. But this was not always the case. Like most states of the Union during the early teens, Colorado was swept up in the passion of prohibition. At midnight on New Years Eve of 1916, Colorado became one of the first states to go dry. Organizations like the Anti Saloon League and Women’s Christian Temperance Union fought against social ills of drunkenness, spousal abuse, and lewdness that were perceived to originate in the saloon and the sale of alcohol in Colorado. The fear of immigration to the state was also bedrock that the prohibition movement was built upon.

As a western state with a long tradition of the Frontier saloon many of the Colorado elite had a difficult time living in a dry state. Many viewed the prohibition of alcohol as a crime against American civil liberates and began a fight to end the practice of prohibition in the state. Business men and state leaders would join organizations like the Committee of 100 in order to apply pressure to the state leaders in an attempt to repeal prohibition within the state. After years of mixed success men like William M Bowman, architect of the Masonic Temple in Fort Collins, Spencer Penrose, entrepreneur and Colorado Springs Philanthropist, were able to put pressure on the state government and end state prohibition as the 21st amendment ended national prohibition.


Hooch Hound, a dog trained to detect liquor (as suggested to Commissioner Haynes by a prohibition agent in Colorado), sniffs at flask in back pocket of man, seated, fishing on pier on the Potomac River
People watch men open cases of liquor from the Blue Valley Distillery Company during a Prohibition arrest in Colorado. The men use crowbars to open the wooden cases.