It has been over a century since the US Congress passed the 18th amendment to the US Constitution. Prohibition was signed into law on January 17th, 1920, making the production and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States. Making all those who manufactured beer or liquor criminals. After giant raids of bars and alcohol manufacturing locations, anyone who sold booze on the black market was now considered a "bootlegger."

January 17th is considered "BOOTLEGGER DAY."

What was life like in Missoula after the 18th amendment passed? Much like today, a century ago, Montanans liked to drink. With alcohol drying up practically overnight, many Missoula establishments transformed into speakeasies. But, who supplied the booze? Well, the trusty bootleggers of course.

Smashed Barrels
Getty Images
loading...

What is a bootlegger?

According to the dictionary

a person who makes or sells alcoholic liquor illegally

Missoula was filled with bootleggers and smugglers during prohibition. Those who would build stills in the wilderness and create moonshine, and those who would smuggle Canadian whiskey into the valley from our friends up north.

Pouring It Away
Getty Images
loading...

According to storymaps.com

Charles Bennett; a man arrested during the [prohibition] raids spoke of a formal “bootleggers’ and gamblers’ organization in Missoula.” He detailed secret meetings in the darkened basement of the Exchange Bar on West Front Street, currently the location of Stockman's Bar, where he collected protection money from the “‘soft drink men’ and either delivered it personally or sent it to the sheriff as payment for immunity from "official interference.”

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

That's RIGHT! Stockman's Bar, one of Missoula's most popular bars, used to be the headquarters for an organized crime ring.

Crime and corruption were not just something you see in old gangster movies based in Chicago or New York. Missoula was no stranger to organized crime and selling booze on the black market.

20 Montana Distilleries You Have to Visit

The Montana distillery scene is certainly taking off, and with the access to local ingredients, you can feel good about supporting these establishments all across the state. Here are 20 distilleries that are worth a visit.

10 Best Steakhouses in Montana

If you live in Montana, you have to love a good steak dinner now and then. Luckily, here in Montana, we have steakhouses that spread far and wide throughout the state. If you are traveling through Montana or vacationing around the state, give one of these places a try.

More From Alt 95.7