Even after factoring in the abstainers, Americans were consuming 1.7 bottles of a standard 80-proof liquor per person, per week.
At this point, it was cheaper and more profitable to convert corn into whiskey than transporting it to eastern markets, without it spoiling.
Thus, as Okrent notes, by 1820s, whiskey was sold at twenty-five cents a gallon, making it cheaper than wine, beer, tea, coffee and even milk.
The number of distilleries also increased five-fold, to 14,000 in between 1790 and 1810.
By 1830, the tolling of a town bell at 11 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. marked ‘grog time,’” wrote Okrent in his book.
English traveller Frederick Marryat in his 1837 book "A Diary in America," noted that drinking was synonymous with both celebration and sorrow.
“I am sure the Americans can fix nothing without a drink. »