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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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ACCIDENTAL HOOTCH INSURANCE. Local joke during Iowa's PROHIBITION years from 1920-1933. In reaction to Iowa's prohibition laws, Dubuque insurance agents in 1923 suggested a humorous form of insurance.

"Accidental Hootch Insurance" was "issued" by a company headquartered in Home Brew Office, Anytown, U.S.A. with relief stations in Cuba, Bimini, Nassau and Montreal. The price of the policy was fifteen cents with Wood, Alcohol, and Company as the general agents.

The "policy" was worded in the usual legal phrases. In the schedule of losses caused by hootch, a person found "sympathy" was all the reparation obtained from "the loss of interest in life," " blinded by hootch," "damage to stomach lining," "losing way home," "partial separation from favorite brands," and "loss of favorite bootleggers address."

Questions to be answered by the prospective applicant included--"Who is your favorite bootlegger? Will you attend the retired bootleggers' convention to be held in Cuba? Where did you get booze for Christmas and New Years? "Is Anheuser-Busch a plant or a fond memory? Do you require medical advice and assistance more often since prohibition? Do you drink hootch because you like it or because you think it is hard to get?