Abraham Lincoln Co-Founded A Bar. Here's What We Know About It

Abraham Lincoln was a great many things. And before he was president, he held a very different job dedicated to serving the people: that of bar owner.

Lincoln came home from serving in the Black Hawk War, the war between the United States and Native Americans, he was kind of lost and was thinking of maybe becoming a blacksmith, writes Vintage News. But then he met William Berry and they decided to open a general store in New Salem, Il. they called it the Berry-Lincoln Grocery.

According to the Chicagoist, stores were allowed to sell larger quantities of alcohol for drinking off-site, however, they needed to get a license for people to drink inside their store. Berry and Lincoln were granted a tavern license which cost $7. Berry took charge of getting the license. At the store, which called a grocery in those days, Berry and Lincoln sold a variety of brandy flavors. They had apple brandy, peach brandy, and even French brandy. They also sold wine, rum, and two kinds of gin, writes the University of Michigan.

Lincoln wasn't much interested in tending bar. Lincoln New Salem explains that Honest Abe was more focused on serving as postmaster, and helmed the store's post office. The Berry-Lincoln Grocery did fine. But soon things changed.

Bartending was not his passion

It turned out Berry was an alcoholic who took advantage of the store's license to sell drinks, per the Chicagoist. He'd drink while working and was sometimes too drunk to function so Lincoln took more and more responsibility. Soon, the store, and the partners, took in more debt.

Eventually, Lincoln sold his interest in the store to Berry in 1833, but when Berry died just two years later, Lincoln inherited the business's debts. The Vintage News writes Lincoln was only able to pay these back when he was elected to Congress in 1847.

In the end, Lincoln left the service industry altogether. He became a lawyer and eventually a politician, en route to a historic presidency which brought us such hits as the creation of the Secret Service and most importantly, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves, at least on paper.

Many American historical figures were involved in the alcohol industry. George Washington owned the largest whiskey distillery, per Mount Vernon's official website, and according to Monticell's website, Thomas Jefferson was fascinated with beer brewing (Sam Adams, though, was not a brewer; he made malt for breweries). Lincoln, however, and his ties to liquor, often slides under the radar. Now we know where he probably learned the chops to work with people from all backgrounds.