In the late 17th century, alcohol was a vital part of colonial life as a beverage, medicine, and commodity for men, women, and children. Drinking was widely accepted and completely integrated into society; but drunkenness was not. As the Temperance Movement gained momentum, proprietors pushed their bitters products as a drink stimulant or a proprietary medicine. The Civil War also played a large role in bitters use and production. Of course, it was loaded with all kinds of questionable ingredients, usually based on alcohol. The brands, bottles, advertising and stories that go with the ‘bitters era’ shed light on an important part of American History before Prohibition shut most of it down.
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