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One of the world’s oldest professions, bartending dates back to ancient times. Through the years, the profession had to deal with its ups and downs, including prohibition in the United States. Now, there are schools all over the country that train these professionals to mix drinks and offer their own brand of therapy.
Traces of bartending can be found back in ancient Greek, Roman and Asian societies working in what were called "public drinking houses." Most of the bartenders in that time brewed their own drinks and were alehouse owners or innkeepers.
Bartenders were part of the elitist groups in France, England, Germany and Ireland around the 15th century. Bartending was considered to be one of the wealthiest trades at the time.
The bartending profession traveled over to the New World from Western Europe. The Pioneer Inn and Tavern Law was passed by the United States Congress in 1832, allowing inns and saloons to serve alcohol to patriots not leasing a room.
In 1919, mostly under pressure from the temperance movement and its political allies, the United States ratified the 18th Amendment in which the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol was prohibited. This put a temporary halt to the bartending profession.
End of Prohibition
When a majority of states ratified the 21st Amendment to repeal Prohibition in 1933, bartenders were able to go back to work.
- Professional Bartending: Every Bartender's Guide to the Industry; Adam W. Freeth; 2009