Allyson P. BrantleySep 6, 2022
Brewing a Boycott
How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism
University of North Carolina Press 2021
Before the craft beer revolution, Coors was a hot commodity. Impossible to find outside a few states in the West, the beer had a level of "cool" that only comes from scarcity. However, this veneer of desirability masked all manner of unfair and discriminatory labor practices within the Coors Brewing Company itself.
In Brewing a Boycott: How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism (UNC Press, 2021), La Verne University professor Allyson Brantley describes how labor activists built a coalition that punctured the aura surrounding the iconic beer brand and created lasting change within the company. Chicano activists, union organizers, and LGBTQ protesters found common ground in aligning against Coors, and the story of their boycott movement - its failures as well as its successes - shows that activism and coalition building were vibrant and viable strategies, even during the depths of Reagan era conservatism. The story of Coors is the story of corporate union busting, New Right conservatism, and grassroots activism, all poured into one can.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.