1930-1939: DECADE OF BANKRUPTCY & BUREAUCRACY
Prohibition came to an end on 'New Beer's Eve'
The 18th Amendment, which turned off the tap through Prohibition in 1920, had reduced the city's two breweries Centlivre and Berghoff to brewing "near-beers" that only tasted like the real thing. But Prohibition proved the mother of invention, and throughout the 1920s, any number of speakeasies abounded in and around Fort Wayne.
The demand for alcohol led to numerous raids by law enforcement officials. Things turned ugly in 1931, when federal agents John Williams and Walter Gilbert were killed in a shootout at George Adams' still by the St. Marys River on Lower Huntington Road. In a verdict that may have reflected the mood of the times, Adams beat the murder charges and spent only three years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter.
On the heels of what some accounts called a "New Beer's Eve" party the night of April 6, 1933, Prohibition finally came to an end one minute after midnight when the first legal beer flowed from a bottle. Both local breweries soon were back in full swing, and Berghoff even advertised home delivery of its full-bodied beer.