Things might get a bit too turnt up in Hanover, Manitoba this weekend.
After more than a hundred years of staying ‘dry,’ this week the predominately Mennonite community in Southeastern Manitoba has discovered that they’ve been wet as the ocean floor this entire time. That’s because despite the commonly held belief among the residents of Hanover that the sale of alcohol is prohibited, Hanover’s municipal staff discovered, after being prompted to investigate the issue for an upcoming referendum in October, that no such law exists, or in fact, has ever existed. The community’s booze-ban was a rural legend, never actually passed into formal law, which means that alcohol in Hanover (pop. 11,871) is now (and always has been) totally legal.
Given the unusual nature of this revelation, it’s hard to tell how the people of Hanover will respond. Will they revolt against the ruling and demand for the alcohol-ban to made law? Or will the Mennonites revolt against their religious vows and throw a crazy rager? Will Hanover split in two on the issue and find themselves in a conniving overzealous political game? Or will they split into two massive teams for a community-wide game of flip-cup?
It’s hard to tell if in practice the law was really stopping anyone from drinking. It’s unlikely, given that from what we know about the history of alcohol prohibition in North America, it essentially increased alcohol use rather than decreased it. For instance in New York City by 1925, there were up to 100,000 alcohol serving establishments in the city alone. So perhaps Hanover already has a massive underground speakeasy syndicate, and allowing people to drink will actually make it less appealing to this thrill seeking community.
I wish Hanover all the best as they explore the wonderful world of alcohol use. This weekend will likely be pretty crazy in Hanover, and in that the Sunday morning church service, the whole community will be feeling like the town name with a ‘g’ after the ‘n’. Party responsibly.