From the great era of the roaring twenties, prohibition gave rise to the infamous ‘Kings of Prohibition’. During this dry period myths were born and the stories of bootleggers; such as Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel became legends and set the path for wine distribution around the world.
The faces behind the wines and their stories that helped them rise to prohibition fame.
ALPHONSE 'AL CAPONE SCARFACE'
One of America’s most notorious gangsters, Al Capone ran an organized crime syndicate in Chicago dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor during the Prohibition era. Capone, who was charming and charitable, yet at the same time powerful and vicious, became an iconic figure of the successful American gangster. Walking the line between cold-blooded gangster and modern-day robin hood was, in part, what made Capone one of America’s most fabled bootleggers. “When I sell liquor it’s called bootlegging. When my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive it’s called hospitality.” – Al Capone
CHARLES 'LUCKY LUCIANO'
‘Lucky’ Luciano, the so-called father of organised crime, rose to the top at the outset of Prohibition, for supplying illegal booze to Manhattan speakeasies. His networks enabled alcohol smugglers to dock large ships with ease in New York harbour, handicapping operators of smaller boats. Working Prohibition to his advantage, his involvement in bootlegging led ‘Lucky’ to become one of the ‘Kings Of Prohibition.’ “There’s no such thing as good money or bad money. There’s just money.” - Lucky
BENJAMIN "BUGSY" SIEGEL
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was an American mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most “infamous and feared gangsters of his day”. Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip“Everybody deserves a fresh start every once in a while" - Bugsy
In January of 1920, McCoy was the first to fill a boat with alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it up to New York City, and legally act as a floating liquor store three miles off shore. McCoy was careful to always stay outside the three mile limit, which was international waters in the early days of U.S. Prohibition McCoy made a name for himself because he never adulterated the alcohol. While copy-cat rum runners would dilute their alcohol with wicked chemicals like turpentine, wood alcohol and prune juice, McCoy never did.
THE "GOOD" BOOTLEGGER
Roy Olmstead was a Seattle police lieutenant in 1920, but was dismissed after being caught smuggling liquor. Olmstead’s next legal trouble came in the Fall of 1924 when federal Prohibition agents closed their investigation of Olmstead’s illegal liquor smuggling and distribution operation. By the time the agents arrested him, they had discovered that he ran the largest liquor smuggling operation in Western Washington. Olmstead employed 50 people to run his operation and paid off numerous police officers and city officials. Evidence indicated that Olmstead even influenced the mayor. He delivered liquor to some of Seattle’s most prominent citizens and its best hotels and restaurants.
THE WOMEN OF BOOTLEGGING
Stella Beloumant was the leading bootlegger in Elko, Nevada. Her case warranted an entire task force. It included the U.S. Attorney General, the Prohibition Bureau‘s second in command plus two of its agents, and the district attorney. The sheriff’s office put her under 24-hour stakeout. Her arrest netted an enormous quantity of illegal alcohol. In one seizure, 820 gallons of Beloument’s wine were confiscated from her base in Elko. This amount is equivalent to 4,140 bottles of wine. Stella challenged gender roles in a way that was rarely examined or recognized during this period.
*NOTE - image of general woman bootleggers