Hotel Crandon Sold First Legal Beer After Prohibtion

Hello Forest County Residents!

For the next few weeks I will be featuring stories about The Hotel Crandon to prepare everyone for the big event on February 21st. I encourage everyone to purchase tickets at the library for:”Take a Step back in Time: The Hotel Crandon’s 85th Anniversary”. There will be authentic 1930’s food, drinks, music, costumes, and historical tours of the basement. All the proceeds from the event will be given to  the Crandon Public Library.

When The Hotel Crandon first opened its doors the selling alcohol was illegal in the United States of America. For over three years this business functioned as a coffee shop and restaurant rather than a bar. But when the 21st Amendment was enacted in December of 1933 two business owners in Crandon were ready for the tavern business. Art McMillion, owner of The Crandon Hotel, and Tom Fannin filed their applications for tavern licenses which were received by the City Council.

Tom Fannin was quoted by the Forest Republican saying “I will have real beer about tomorrow noon. I will have all the popular brands of bottle beer and it will sell for 10 cents a glass or 20 cents a bottle” (Forest Republican).

Art McMillion said “I expect to have real beer on sale at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. Besides Miller, Blatz, Oshksoh and Manitowoc bottle beer, keg beer will also be on tap for patrons. We will have to get 20 cents a bottle” (Forest Republican). The business men expected a rush of business with the first legal beer in years but promised to have enough beer to satisfy everyone’s thirst (Forest Republican).

This is just another reason that The Crandon Hotel is a historic landmark and an iconic piece of Forest County history. The sale of legal alcohol was a big deal in Forest County because many residents had been making and selling illegal spirits for years. It was way for people to make a living during the depression. But it was dangerous business because a person could be arrested and the stills could be destroyed. Not to mention the dangers of selling to gangters in the larger cities like Milwaukee and Chicago.

The Hotel Crandon  1932
The Hotel Crandon



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