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State Theatre's off-site promotion for "Kentucky Moonshiners." Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library.

Prohibition grew from Victorian-era temperance movements but was enacted in the Jazz Age. The country was experiencing a period of economic prosperity, consumerism and an emphasis on leisure and recreation activities. Passage of the 18th Amendment contributed to changes in the culture. Prior to Prohibition, saloons were patronized almost exclusively by men. Speakeasies, however, were open to men and women. There was a drop in overall alcohol consumption, and a shift from primarily beer and wine consumption to cocktails. Distilled alcohol was easier to store and transport, and the added flavorings could mask the flavor of poor-quality alcohol.

With the fall of the stock market in 1929 and start of the Great Depression, economic factors contributed to efforts to repeal Prohibition. Repeal would provide jobs for the unemployed and a source of tax revenue.