Fort Collins History: Liquor Legally Returned 50 Years Ago
It can be hard to imagine a town known for its craft beer scene and hoppin' nightlife without alcohol (well, most alcohol), but that was the case for Fort Collins just 50 years ago.
Hard liquor was illegal in Fort Collins all the way up until 1969, according to Jenny Hannifin of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. National prohibition ended in 1933, meaning that FoCo outlasted the rest of America by 36 years.
In fact, old-timey Fort Collins was so anti-booze that the town banned alcohol 20 years before it actually became illegal via the 18th Amendment in 1920.
As lame as this sounds, the people of Fort Collins did have good reason for their premature ban. According to Erin Udell of The Coloradoan, the temperance movement was pioneered by women who were suffering from domestic violence, often stemming from their husbands' alcohol abuse.
When national prohibition ended, Fort Collins caved a little and allowed for bars that only served 3.2 beer. This lasted all the way up until 1969, when the people decided they couldn't stand this sad excuse for a beer any longer.
Red Ferrell, Larimer County's liquor inspector, came to the rescue and allowed the opening of Campus West Liquors in 1969. At 5 p.m. on August 8th of that year, a legal hard liquor drink was sold in Fort Collins for the first time in 73 years.
The Les Ware of The Top Restaurant, which doesn't exist anymore, scored the first legal liquor license of Fort Collins. Here's a picture of some guys enjoying their first drink at the restaurant:
Thankfully, there are plenty of breweries, bars, distilleries, and more open in Fort Collins today. Celebrate the death of prohibition (responsibly, of course) and go get yourself a cocktail.