April 2023

29 Apr 23

George Remus emigrated from Germany to America with his family in 1882. By the age of 19, he became a certified pharmacist in Chicago, and by the age of 21, he had purchased his first pharmacy. At 24, after his purchase of yet another drugstore, George decided to quit the pharmacy business and instead pursue a career in law.

He attended what is now the DePaul University College of Law at night (in half the usual time) and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1904. He became an accomplished criminal defense lawyer. He pioneered the progenitor to the temporary insanity defense in a notorious murder case in 1914. By 1920, George was earning close to $500,000 a year, or nearly $7.5 million in today's dollars. But this was not enough for George.

By that time, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, and its implementing federal statute, the Volstead Act, banned the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. George noticed that many of his clients were becoming wealthy by circumventing the law, despite their numerous brushes with it. He decided he could do bootlegging better.