How could a brand name store and pharmacy chain’s success be due to Prohibition? The answer is quite interesting. When alcohol was outlawed from 1920 to 1933, it was still extremely prevalent in society.
People still drank routinely, although illegally, yet many wished not to break the law. Back then alcohol was thought to have some medicinal benefits and because of this, the US government passed a law that allowed whisky to remain legal for those that had a written card of consent from their doctor, or a prescription.
Walgreens was able to secure the right to prescribe whisky for various ailments, which resulted in their business exploding. The chain had only 20 retail stores at the beginning of Prohibition.
While many businesses suffered during the stock market crash in 1929, Walgreens continued to grow to over 400 stores by the end of Prohibition! Who knows, had alcohol stayed legal we may never have known of the Walgreen Company at all!