Cullen–Harrison Act

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Cullen–Harrison Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Beer Permit Act
  • Permit and Tax Beer Act
Long title An Act to provide revenue by the taxation of certain nonintoxicating liquor, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial) CHA
Nicknames Cullen-Harrison Act of 1933
Enacted by the 73rd United States Congress
Effective March 22, 1933
Public law 73-3
Statutes at Large 48 Stat. 16
Titles amended 27 U.S.C.: Intoxicating Liquors
U.S.C. sections created 27 U.S.C. ch. 2A § 64a et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 3341 by Thomas H. Cullen (D-NY) on March 14, 1933
  • Committee consideration by House Ways and Means, Senate Finance
  • Passed the House on March 14, 1933 (326-99)
  • Passed the Senate on March 16, 1933 (53-37)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on March 20, 1933; agreed to by the Senate on March 20, 1933 (49-42) and by the House on March 21, 1933 (agreed)
  • Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933

The Cullen–Harrison Act, named for its sponsors, Senator Pat Harrison and Representative Thomas H. Cullen, enacted by the United States Congress March 21, 1933 and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt the following day, legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% (by weight) and wine of similarly low alcohol content, thought to be too low to be intoxicating, effective April 7, 1933. Each state had to pass similar legislation to legalize sale of the low alcohol beverages in that state. Roosevelt had previously sent a short message to Congress requesting such a bill. Sale of even such low alcohol beer had been illegal in the U.S. since Prohibition started in 1920 following the 1919 passage of the Volstead Act.[1] Throngs gathered outside breweries and taverns for their first legal beer in many years.[2] The passage of the Cullen–Harrison Act is celebrated as National Beer Day every year on April 7.


  1. Swain, Martha H. "Pat Harrison: the New Deal years." University Press of Mississippi, 2009. Page 40. ISBN 978-1-60473-263-4. Retrieved February 3, 2010
  2. Courtaway, Robert, "Wetter than the Mississippi," Missouri Life, December–January 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2010

External links