William Gibbs McAdoo to Woodrow Wilson




William Gibbs McAdoo sends Woodrow Wilson a proposed amendment to regulations governing distilling alcohol as it relates to malt liquors.


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


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum




My dear Mr. President

I transmit herewith a proposed amendment to the regulations governing the use of food materials in the production of distilled spirits as they pertain to malt liquors, which was prepared by the United States Food Administration.

Under existing regulations and orders, so-called “Ttemperance” beer, for purposes of grain conservation, is classified as a malt liquor and its production is thus brought under regulation by the food control act of August 10, 1917, and manufacturers thereof are placed on the same plane as brewers of beer as to grain privileges.

The state of Michigan having become “dry” by a law of that state, effective May 1, 1918, certain brewers who have heretofore been manufacturing beer in said state have converted their breweries into “temperance” beer breweries, which are not prohibited by the dry law of Michigan, and are making use of grain privileges which would have been theirs in the manufacture of regular beer in the production of “temperance” beer. These brewers desire this modification of the regulations to enable them to qualify as distillers of industrial alcohol, that they may by distillation conserve as a by-product the alcohol which may be generated in the process of manufacture.

The process of producing “temperance” beer is identical with that of making the regular beer both as to the quantity and quality of grain used, and the process of manufacture, save and except, that in the finishing treatment of the “temperance” beer the process of fermentation, and thereby the production of alcohol, is arrested at a point which restricts the alcoholic content within the legal limit or is prevented altogether. Another method is to ferment the material to exhaustion, producing an alcoholic content much in excess of the legal limit, and by a process of distillation recover this excess until the alcoholic content of the beer is reduced within the legal limits. The latter process seems to be the preferable one, in that it both removes the possibility of further fermentation with its attendant increase of alcoholic content, and alcohol produced by complete fermentation.

of the fact that by the law of the state of Michigan the “temperance” beer would not be permitted to be made or sold alcohol therein, it is presumed that there will be no to manufacture it by the arresting or preventive process as to fermentation.

By qualifying as distillers of industrial alcohol, the brewers can, under Internal Revenue supervision, effect these purposes and save to the country a large amount of needed industrial alcohol which otherwise will be wasted.For these reasons, I concur in the proposed amendment and recommend its approval.

Cordially yours,

WG McAdoo

Original Format





William Gibbs McAdoo, “William Gibbs McAdoo to Woodrow Wilson,” 1918 June 10, WWP19433, Hoover Institute at Stanford University Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.