Memorandum on the Alcohol Content of Beer




This memorandum states that Woodrow Wilson has recommended to the Food Administration that the alcoholic content of beer be reduced to 3% and the volume of grain should be 70% of the amount formerly used. The existing stores of distilled drinks can be commandeered by the Goverment if the needed for manufacturing munitions.


Hoover-Wilson Correspondence, Hoover Institution, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford, California


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum





The President has approved the recommendation of the Food Administration that the alcoholic content of beer should be reduced in the first instance to 3% maximum and that the volume of grain to be used in brewing shall be reduced to approximately 70% of the amount formerly used.

Further provisions are being made to increase the maximum output of cattle feed from brewing establishments.

The Food Bill provides for the reduction of food stuffs in the production of distilled spirits for exclusively other than beverage purposes and the use of food stuffs for the production of distilled drinks was stopped on September 8th. There is, however, in the country from two to three years’ supply of whiskey, brandy and gin and other distilled liquors. The Food Bill provides that these liquors can be commandeered by the Government if required for purposes of manufacture of alcohol for munitions.

On the other hand, the requirements for industrial alcohol in addition to the normal output from sawdust and other waste products is at present negligible.

Those who wish brewing entirely suppressed should therefore bear in mind that if such a course were pursued the country would be placed on a whiskey basis and the amount of alcohol consumed would most probably increase.

The desirability of saving all the grain used in brewing from the point of view of food conservation is therfore limited by the social question involved in the exclusive use of whiskey.
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Original Format




“Memorandum on the Alcohol Content of Beer,” 1917 November 27, WWP19278, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.