Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. The majority of bourbon distilleries were closed, many to never reopen, but a few, like the Samuels and Beam families, came
back after the repeal of Prohibition and resurrected the craft of bourbon distilling.
In 1947, with the world still reeling from WWII, President Harry Truman—who liked his bourbon with water or ginger ale—shuts down the nation’s distilleries for 60 days in order to conserve grain, which is sent overseas to feed hungry Europeans.
In 1964, Congress declares bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States,” giving it special trade protection in overseas markets.