Abraham Lincoln Was Once a Licensed Bartender

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Abraham Lincoln Was Once a Licensed Bartender


Before he became the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln owned his own tavern and was a licensed bartender. 

According to Chicagoist, a local news and culture website, Lincoln’s days at the tavern began in January 1833 when he “partnered with his friend from his militia days.” This friend, William F. Berry, then bought a store with Lincoln and named it “Berry and Lincoln.” 


Photo Credit: Yelp


Like today, people couldn’t sell liquor back then if a tavern or bar owner didn’t have a liquor license. And so, on March 1833, Berry decided to get a license under his name. They paid $7 for it, which allowed them to sell liquor that would then be consumed in the bar and considered as “groceries.” 

In no time, Berry and Lincoln were serving the following: “Half pints of French brandy for 25 cents, peach brandy for 18.75 cents, and apple brandy for 12 cents. Half pints of Holland gin cost 18.75 cents while domestic gin was 12.5 cents. Wine cost 25 cents, rum was 18.75 cents, and whiskey was 12.5 cents.”

Aside from liquor, the place also offered lodging for 12.5 cents a night. For housing horses, people could pay 25 cents. Feeds could also be bought for 12.5 cents, takeout meals cost 37.25 cents. 

The Vintage News website, which offers interesting stories from the past, revealed that Lincoln didn’t talk about his time as a tavern owner when he decided to run for president in 1860, or after he won the seat. 


Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Lincoln wasn’t the only president to have a history with booze before being called to the White House. Chicagoist says even George Washington, the first president of the United States, owned the nation’s largest distillery in 1797. Thomas Jefferson brewed his own beer, and Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US, served orange punch on his inaugural party in 1829.




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