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`HE publication of a Year Book is an innovation in the annals
of the United States Brewers' Association. It is not meant to displace the Convention reports which have been published for forty-eight years, but these reports will in future be restricted to the annual convention proceedings. The Year Book is designed both for the convenience of our own members, and for the information of the public. We have aimed to make it a valuable reference book, not only for the brewers, but for all serious students of the liquor question, adhering to our established policy of presenting only such facts and figures as will bear the light of unbiased scrutiny. Much of the discussion of this question is based on incomplete data, inadequate information, incompetent and careless observation, and generally unscientific methods. Partial truths have been used to bolster up specious arguments, and accuracy of statement has been sacrificed to mere dramatic effect. The result is reflected in much hasty and ill-considered legislation, enacted in response to a wave of unreasoning emotion, or for the purpose of placating a sentiment which has been only partially informed and, therefore, is at least partially misguided.
The brewing industry is convinced that its true and lasting interest coincides with that of the community, and that the method of marketing its product must be adjusted accordingly. But constant changes are harassing to the trade and demoralizing to the authorities. The interference of the State in the regulation of the habits of the people has been carried to such a point that the machinery of government does not stand the strain.
We must study conditions as they are, before we presume to say what they should be made. The actual experience of American cities and States cannot safely be ignored in legislation. Judgment must be formed upon the facts of social life and public administration, and action based upon this informed judgment. Sentimentalism has had its day; it is time that rationalism had a turn!
NEW YORK, January, 1909.