|sales were reasonable but when the federal government imposed
embargoes on freight shipped around the region, Harvard soon
found it difficult to obtain adequate supplies as well as market
their non-alcoholic labels. An attempt at diversification was
leasing of unused operations space for storage and warehousing
but this amounted to little revenue.
In order to offset the dire financial situation,
executives, including Director Frederick Quinn and Treasurer
Bartholomew Scannell, decided to have Harvard make their
"near-beer" a little nearer than federal law permitted.
Although profits naturally jumped, the illegal endeavor was
short lived when a truck filled with 100 barrels of Harvard
beer was hijacked in Lowell during August of 1925. As the
hijackers were transferring the kegs of brew to their own
private cars, their movements were noticed by most of the
An article in the Lowell Courier-Citizen reported
"As soon as it became known in the locality what was going
on, hundreds appeared and surrounded the truck. They all
clamored for a chance to secure a barrel of the beer. Men
came to blows and bedlam reigned. Besides the men involved,
it is known that several women even procured barrels and
rolled them along the sidewalks or in the streets to homes
thereabouts." Naturally, the police became aware of the
disturbance and upon showing up to the scene, the mob
dispersed in all directions. When the liquor squad inspected
back of the truck, they discovered only two dozen kegs still
remaining. Tracing the truck to the Harvard Company, the
Lowell police called in federal agents from Boston.
When the agents tried to gain entrance to the
Scannell refused them admittance for lack of a search warrant.
Upon hearing workers smashing barrels inside, the officers
forced a door at the side of the building and found their shoes
immersed in four to five inches of spilled beer. It was reported
that laborers were casting full kegs of the Harvard product into
nearby River Meadow Brook so as to escape their seizure.
The raid was the largest in New England's prohibition history