Coors Boycott: The Influence of the Chicano Movement

Discrimination Attracts Attention

For many people in the 1960s and 1970s, the Coors Brewing Company signified conservative views on gender, labor, and race equality. The opposition to the Coors company was derived from three specific reasons: the conservative politics of the company's president, Joe Coors, the company's stance on labor unions, and most of all the discriminatory practices of the Coors Brewing company against Chicanos, Black, and LGBT peoples.

The Coors family, especially Joseph Coors, actively supported conservative politicians. The family also even funded many conservative organizations. Joseph Coors was one of the most active and public supporters of politicians like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. In 1973 Joseph also founded and funded the Heritage Foundation, located in Washington, which advocated for pro-business policies, anti-communism, neoconservatism, and Christian conservatism.

In regards to the discrimination of Chicanos, it was well known by 1966 that the company had extremely discriminatory hiring practices. In an interview done with Freddie "Freak" Trujillo, he offered a first hand account in which he stated that when he, a Chicano man, went to the brewing facilities in Golden, CO he was told that, "Coors don't hire no Mexicans, we don't hire no niggers, and we don't hire no dogs." In 1966, it was found that of 1,400 workers employed at the brewery in Golden, only about 2% of them were Mexican-American. In order to combat racial discrimination against Chicanos, the G.I. Forum  organized a boycott of Coors beer that same year.
Eventually, the boycott brought national attention to Coors' hiring practices at a time when labor unions and strikes were on the rise. In order to help combat the labor unions, Coors began polygraph testing employees, a majority of them being Chicano, African American, or from the LGBT community. These polygraph tests consisted of questions regarding the employees' personal lives, and they were said to be used in order to weed out any potential drug users within the company's staff.

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