The weirdly pitched battle over the soul of "I am Canadian" brewery Molson, as embodied by its proposed merger with the American beer biggie Coors, continues apace, with gay activists in the middle yelling into the wind.
Here's the background: Coors used to be a company of pigs. In the early 1970s, management demanded that would-be employees hook up to a lie detector and fill out a little quiz that included a question asking whether they were homosexual. Big boozer gays boycotted, and the company soon fell all over itself to be gay-positive. In fact it's now a company so goodie-goodie that to list its gay achievements becomes tedious.
But some members of the Coors family are still odious. Former Coors chair Pete Coors, a wannabe politician, supports banning gay marriage (because of bigotry, not because of a principled rejection of the institution itself). Petey is also vice-president of the Castle Rock Foundation (four out of the five directors of this private group are Coors'), which throws gazillions of dollars at anti-gay causes. There's more, but it's a mess of foundations and donations and machinations that'll leave your head a'spinnin'.
So Coors profits go to these nasties. Yet members of the Coors family own only a 30 percent chunk of the brewery. So, should we boycott or not? Some say yes, punish the gay-positive company as well as the filthy part-owners. These activists slag Coors yet uphold Molson's purity, conveniently forgetting that Molson already brews Coors and Coors Lite in Canada, and has for years -- for decades, even. And guess what? Manager Dean Odorico tells me that Coors Light is one of the top-10 sellers at Toronto's Woody's, one of the city's premier gay bars. Precisely because, I would suggest, the Coors company has been such a trailblazer -- offering same-sex spousal benefits in the U.S (!), gay employee groups, and financially supporting Pride and other queer community events. I'm afraid the issues are tougher than our "leaders" would have us believe.
ADDENDUM, January 14: Molson brewery higher-ups, desperately concerned that the deal will be voted down by shareholders, have sweetened the pot with extra cash incentives and moved the vote from the 19th to January 28th.