US Pot Prohibition—A “Gift to Canada
US Pot Prohibition—A “Gift to Canada by Nick Giambruno – International Man
“Welcome to Saskatchewan,” said Samuel Bronfman, “home of the best whiskey this side of the St. Lawrence.”
Bronfman, a Canadian whiskey maker, was uneasy. But to his relief, the man he was meeting—the infamous mobster Al Capone—greeted him warmly.
Next, Sam led Capone through his largest whiskey warehouse. It was filled with hundreds of barrels of whiskey. The stash was worth a small fortune back in the states, where Prohibition had gone into effect in 1920, just a few years earlier.
Capone agreed to buy 14 barrels on the spot. He also requested 14 more barrels every week going forward.
Eventually, the whiskey would make its way to Chicago and flow into Capone’s distribution network.
The deal was hugely profitable for Bronfman. It cost him about $24 to make each barrel, which he’d sell to Capone for $140 per barrel. And for Bronfman, it was all completely legal.
Of course, Capone took on a lot more risk. So, he made even larger profits.
This meeting was the start of a partnership that lasted over 10 years. It was also the foundation of a multibillion-dollar business empire that thrives to this day…
In 1928, Bronfman acquired one of the largest whiskey distilleries in Canada. By the time Prohibition in the US was repealed in 1933, he had already established a crucial first-mover advantage in the US market.
By the 1940s, Bronfman’s company was the largest liquor producer in the US and Canada. Ultimately, it made him a billionaire.
You’ve certainly heard of Bronfman’s company: Seagram’s. You can find his products in any corner liquor store. You may even have a bottle of Seagram’s in your house right now.
It’s Legal in Canada
US prohibition propelled Sam Bronfman’s business to new heights. But as I mentioned, his business was 100% legal.
Sure, it was illegal for Canadians to export whiskey to the US… But that’s not what he did. He simply sold whiskey to an American on Canadian soil.