- "Prohibition was a time when gangsters ruled the town while honest citizens quaked in their beds!"
- —Edna Strickland
In response to the banning of alcohol, many businesses (including gangsters) manufactured their own bootleg alcohol or had it delivered from neighboring countries. Illegal speakeasies, in which people could consume alcohol privately, were established also.
By 1931, Hill Valley was affected by Prohibition and a speakeasy had been established in Courthouse Square. The business was owned by Kid Tannen until an arson attack. In June 1931, the nearby Sisters of Mercy Soup Kitchen was owned by Tannen where alcohol was smuggled underground through the kitchen.