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The act making appropriations for the legislative, executive, and judicial expenses of the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, authorized the Commissioner of Labor to make an investigation relating to the economic aspects of the liquor problem, providing such investigation could be carried out under the regular appropriations made for the Department of Labor.
A report on the economic aspects of the liquor problem, to cover the various phases of the subject, should consider monetary conditions; the agricultural and other products used in the production of liquors; the manufacture of liquors as a distinct industry; the transportation of liquors from the place of production to that of consumption; the consumption of and the traffic in liquors; the revenue derived from the manufacture and traffic; the laws regulating the collection of revenue; and the experience and practice of employers in relation to the use of intoxicants.
The agricultural products used in the manufacture of liquors form, as a rule, a very small proportion of the total of such products, and it is therefore not possible to ascertain the capital, the number of employees, etc., represented by such portion. The transportation of liquors forms a very small proportion of the land and water transportation business of the whole country, and it is impossible to estimate the capital and number of employees represented by it. Of the remaining subjects enumerated above, reliable and fairly complete data in regard to the production of liquors were found in the reports of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the publications of the census office. To obtain information in regard to the traffic in liquors and the revenue derived from the manufacture and traffic, as well as the experience and practice of employers in relation to the use of intoxicants, original inquiry was necessary, and it is along these lines that the main work of this investigation has been done, the amount of work and its comprehensiveness being limited by the provisions of the law authorizing the investigation, that it should be conducted under the regular appropriations of the Department.
The number of distilleries in operation in the United States, as given in the report of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the year ending June 30, 1896, was 6,187, the production of distilled liquors
amounting to 89,992,555 gallons. The number of breweries was 1,866, the production of fermented liquors, estimated on the basis of 31 gallons to the barrel, being 1,111,636,750 gallons. The production of domestic wines amounted to 15,980,000 gallons, and the total production of liquors of all kinds amounted to 1,217,609,305 gallons.
According to the census of 1890 the number of distilleries reported was 440, with a capital of $31,006,176, and a product of the value of $104,197,869. The number of breweries reported was 1,248, having a capital of $232,471,290, and a product valued at $182,731,622. The number of establishments engaged in the production of vinous liquors was 236, having a capital of $5,792,783, and a product valued at $2,846,148. The total number of establishments engaged in the production of all kinds of liquors was therefore 1,924, with a total capital of $269,270,249, and an annual product of the value of $289,775,639. The cost of the materials used in securing this production was $80,230,532, the number of persons employed 41,425, and the wages paid them $31,678,166.
As stated in the chapter on the production of liquors, no attempt should be made to harmonize the statements of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue with those of the census officials. The discrepancies in such statements are explained in the chapter referred to. The total amount of grain of all kinds used in the production of liquors of different grades is estimated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, to have been 58,949,480 bushels. There are large quantities of other materials used in the production of liquors, as explained in the chapter on production. The quantity of liquors produced, as shown by the internal-revenue returns, and the value, as given by the Federal census, have no relation to each other.
It appears that there were 4,197,938 gallons of liquors of domestic manufacture exported during the year ending June 30, 1896; that 1,029,653 gallons of distilled spirits of domestic manufacture that had been exported were returned as imports, and that 5,454 gallons of the same class of spirits were reexported after having been exported and returned. There were also 8,973,300 gallons of liquors of foreign manufacture imported and 131,354 gallons of liquors of foreign manufacture exported. The Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department has for a number of years published a table giving the total and per capita consumption of distilled spirits, wines, and malt liquors. This table furnished the data for the statement on page 35, giving the facts for certain years from 1810 to 1896, inclusive. It shows that during the year ending June 30, 1896, the total quantity of distilled spirits of all kinds consumed in the United States was 71,051,877 proof gallons; of wines, 18,701,406 gallons, and of malt liquors of all kinds, 1,080,626,165 gallons. The per capita consumption for the year named