Not Exactly the Welcome Wagon

April 13, 1927

Col. Frank Benedict is moving up in the world. Recently named one of six "minute men" prohibition officers and presented with a patrol car capable of hitting 80 mph (!) for late night liquor hunts, he’s also taken possession of a new home on exclusive Terrace Drive in Pasadena, just a jig from Millionaire’s Row.

In the evening, the gentle scents of jasmine, orange blossoms and datura perfumed the air… but beneath them, Benedict detected a heavy, sweet and larcenous odor, the unmistakable tang of sour mash a-brewing. Sniff, sniff, sniff went the revenue man, until he found himself three doors down, outside #146. Local and federal agents were called, and the raid that followed netted Frank Meyers (real name Joseph Mendella) in the act of tapping a 300 gallon still, 140 gallons of steaming mash and equipment valued at $50,000.

Mendella must have had juice, and we don’t mean joy juice. The case lingered until March 1928, when he was convicted of possession of a still and the mash, fined $500 and sentenced to just thirty days in jail.