Lindsey Zahn at On Reserve takes a lawyerly look at The Volstead Act, the law that turned the 18th Amendment into Prohibition.
Before the Eighteenth Amendment was enacted, many producers of fermented beverages like wine and beer, thought their products would be precluded from the Amendment and that the Amendment would only restrict alcoholic beverages with higher alcohol per volume, such as distilled spirits (hard liquor). During the push for the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, congressmen and the media particularly focused on the more “evil” and most alcoholic distilled spirits, thus allowing producers of wine and beer to believe they might not only evade the financial misfortunes of the Eighteenth Amendment but also flourish from the elimination of the distilled spirits market share. With the addition of the Volstead Act, however, these beliefs became misguided; Title I includes wine and beer under its definition of “intoxicating liquors,” as both wine and beer contain more than .5% alcohol by volume.
It’s an interesting and not particularly long read — given that it’s written by a lawyer.