History Learn Beer Sidebars
Five “Drink You Under the Table” Presidents
All About Beer Magazine - Volume 29, Issue 5November 1, 2008
Martin Van Buren (1837-1841): He earned the nickname "Blue Whiskey Van" early in his political career because while campaigning in taverns, he was able to put away huge amounts of alcohol without appearing drunk. James Buchanan (1857-1861): Buchanan complained that merchants delivered champagne to the White House in small bottles. He would visit the Jacob Baer Distillery in Washington and purchase 10-gallon casks of "Old J.B. Whiskey" for use at the White House. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877): Some tried to slander Grant during the Civil War, calling him a drunk. The record shows Grant was a highly effective officer. He also clearly enjoyed having a drink. Chester Arthur (1881-1885): Arthur is said to have been a fan of fine wines and liqueurs. He was known for having lavish White House parties. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897): Cleveland enjoyed beer. While campaigning for the District Attorney position in Erie County, NY, he agreed with his friend and challenger Lyman Bass that each should drink only four glasses of beer daily. After several meetings they decided that four standard glasses just was not enough. The pair solved the problem by substituting huge tankards for the glasses at the local saloon.