PEP was abandoned just as soon as beer returned in 1933, but more than 60 years later one Oshkosh man could still remember the impression the brew made on him. In November of 1980 Myles Strasser of the Northwestern wrote an article about Oshkosh’s prohibition era bootleggers. A man identified only as “Dick” was quoted in the article saying that PEP “was a kind of near beer with a lousy taste, but nobody drank that stuff. Everybody wanted something with a wallop.”
PEP solved nothing. But it wasn’t as though the people of Oshkosh were relying on the local breweries to come up with a solution to the problem of Prohibition. In Decade Of Despair, a terrific book by Werner Braatz and Thomas Rowland about Winnebago County during the Great Depression, Oshkosh is portrayed as a city that roundly thumbed its nose at the new liquor law. Braatz and Rowland write, “Beer flats abounded. These were single family homes in which a room was set aside for the purposes of selling beer, moonshine and playing cards. So much booze was produced that city sewers were often clogged because home-brewers dumped their mash down the drain. Indeed, in Oshkosh’s Sixth Ward fermenting hops could be smelled on any street. Police did very little to stop it because they often drank themselves.” Seems the people of Oshkosh had come up with their own solution to the problem.
|From July 12, 1919|