I was evidently not paying all that much attention in my American History class. Or, more likely, I knew this just long enough to put it on a test and then forget it. Anyway…
Contrary to popular belief, the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution did not prohibit the possession and consumption of alcohol. It did, however, prohibit making, transporting and selling it. So if you had some of grandfather’s scotch sitting around, you were all set. Otherwise, you were illegally drinking questionable liquor. Nothing says fun like bathtub gin, moonshine and potential death!
Incidentally, under the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th (and is the only amendment to have been repealed in its entirety), it was — and probably still is — still illegal to transport alcohol into dry counties.* Dry counties still exist. I know this because I used to live in one in a southern state and had to drive seven miles north to the county line to buy beer (at a place with a really awesome name that I would drop were it not the first 18 or so hits on Google), which would have been a hassle had the owners of that place not been a. really knowledgeable about beer and b. totally awesome people in general who special ordered things for me or with me in mind because they thought I’d like it.
As a side note, it is because of prohibition that NASCAR exists. I think that says more than the vault to power of the mafia about how bad prohibition was.**
*This part of the law must only rarely actually be enforced if it is still on the books.
**I am thankful that I live in a time when not only do I have access to beer, but I have access to a wide variety of beers from all over the world. At present my beer shelf has beers from: the Czech Republic (two different kinds, no less), Ireland, Germany and Australia.