As of now, Portland is known as a mecca for food and drink around the country. Hell, we’ve been named one of the best cities for breweries as well!
But Maine’s relationship with alcohol was once pretty complicated. In short, Maine was the first state to enact Prohibition back in 1846. Needless to say, alcohol and its relationship in the state of Maine has never been simple.
The Portland Rum Riot
Here’s a short history lesson for those that don’t know about the Portland Rum Riot. It certainly wasn’t something I learned about in history class growing up in the midwest!
The Portland Rum Riot occurred on June 2, 1855. Portland mayor at the time, Neal Dow, had banned the sales of all alcohol and manufacturing of alcohol unless it was for medicinal or mechanical purposes.
The problem was there was a rumor that Dow actually had a large amount of alcohol that was being held in city vaults for mechanical and pharmaceutical reasons. Of course, that little detail wasn’t exactly widely known.
On the afternoon of June 2nd, a large crowd started forming outside of City Hall. At the time, Portland only had 21,000 inhabitants. There were reports of 3,000 people gathered outside of City Hall because of their anger with Dow.
As you can imagine, a crowd of 3,000 people gets out of hand. So Dow decided to call out the militia and have them deal with the now angry mob.
The militia was told to disperse the mob, and fired into the crowd. This lead to the death of an immigrant, John Robbins, who was a sailor from Deer Isle, as well as seven others being wounded. The Portland Rum Riot is a large reason why the Maine law for prohibition of alcohol was repealed just a year later in 1856.
Raise A Toast To John Robbins With Portland Rum Riot Rum
On June 2, 2019 at 2 pm, a toast will be raised for John Robbins at Liquid Riot. And of course, we’ll be raising this toast with Portland Rum Riot Rum!
Rum Riot Rum is a collaboration rum created by Liquid Riot Bottling Co., Maine Craft Distilling, and New England Distilling. In a city with as much history as Portland, it’s only appropriate for the first three craft distillers to produce rum here since Prohibition to collaborate.
This will be the third release of Portland Rum Riot Rum. Want a taste of history? Raise your glass on June 2nd at 2 pm in honor of John Robbins and Maine!
Don’t worry about getting hungry either, since there will be Polynesian-inspired snacks and delicious Tiki rum cocktails at Liquid Riot. And yes, you’ll find me there since I have a nose for anything Tiki inspired!