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August 10th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 31
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From one tipple to another: A history of booze in the Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
As an author and historian, Stephanie Hamilton knows that nothing helps a tale of bygone days go down like a nice cold beer.

“I’ve had more conversations on history over beers than I care to admit,” she conceded.

The longtime Crowsnest resident has published a new book about the Pass called "Booze and Bars: A Brief History of Pub Culture in the Crowsnest Pass."

On July 28, the Crowsnest Historical Society held a launch event for the book at the Crowsnest Museum as part of the Doors Open and Heritage Festival.

Hamilton is a scholar of roman antiquity and early Christianity who became an expert on twentieth-century Western Canadian history to make ends meet.

The book is a culmination of five years of work. It’s full of histories, stories, and tales of the Pass' heritage and how pubs, hotels, and alcohol helped shape the region. Hamilton discusses nine pubs, hotels and legions.

“I was immediately struck by the reality that everywhere I was going to have a drink was an old building,” she said. “We’re talking places that have served beer for a hundred years. It was an obvious connection.”
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Then and now, the bars of the Pass were hubs of the community. They were places where miners could talk and figure out who was hiring, find accommodation and, of course, blow off steam with a few pints, Hamilton said.

“They were living in a coal mine town doing dangerous work,” said Hamilton. “These men risked their lives every single day, it made sense to have a beer on the way home.”

Hamilton also touches on the gender politics of bars and pubs. Women were forced to enter establishments using separate doors, were forbidden from drinking with men and were consigned to separate, usually smaller, spaces.

This state of things persisted in the Pass until the late 1960s, said Hamilton.

“I call it the most overlooked aspect of alcohol legislation.”
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August 10th ~ Vol. 85 No. 31
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