A Thriving Liquor Commerce before Prohibition

In the decades before prohibition took effect in 1916 Oregonians slaked their collective thirst with a great number of local brews and spirits. They also chose from a variety of concoctions imported from other states and countries. The freewheeling capitalism that prevailed in this period created a need for liquor manufacturers to differentiate their products from those of their competitors. To accomplish this they turned to artists who designed colorful bottle labels meant to evoke the beauty of the location or even the romance of an imagined time or place. The tired and thirsty drinker was thus enticed to leave the troubles of the day behind. The following images are a small sample of the trademark labels held by the Oregon State Archives.

 

Label image

Oregon breweries

Oregon distilleries or bottlers

Out-of-state breweries

Out-of-state distilleries

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