Why Was Coors Illegal? What You Should Know About Coors Beer

Why Was Coors Illegal

Coors beer was a product of Coors brewery, a company that started as an American brewery and beer company. It was founded in 1873 by Adolph Coors and Jacob Schueler. For almost two centuries, the company remained on top of the brewery business. In 2005, the owners decided to merge it with Molson Incorporated, and it became Molson Coors. The first Coors brewery was located in Colorado and remained the largest brewing facility in the world.

So Why Was Coors Illegal?

Coors was illegal because it was a very light beer, and it wasn’t pasteurized in the 1970s; thus, it was highly perishable and unsafe for human consumption.

A Brief About The Beginning Of Coors Brewery

For the first part of its 100 years, Coors brewery sold its Coors Banquet beer in the Midwestern part of the country, with California and Texas being significant parts of the 11-state distribution area. The company added the states of Washington and Montana to the distribution network in 1976.

Since Oregon didn’t approve beer sales in grocery stores until 1985, the state was the last to be added. Visitors that travel from the western part of the country often take the cases of the beer with them when they visit the Eastern parts. The company eventually set up a Nationwide distribution for the beer in the mid-1980s.

In 1959, the company became the first American brewer to use an all-aluminum two-piece beverage can for packaging its product. In the same year, the company decided to stop using pasteurization to preserve its beer; instead, it used sterile filtration. Today, Coors operates the most extensive aluminum beer can producing plant globally, which is referred to as the Rocky Mountain Metal Container (RMMC).

In the mid-1970s, the company invented the litter-free push-tab can instead of the usual ring-pull tab can. Most consumers disliked the litter-free push-tab can, and it was discontinued. Coors later introduced the Coors Light beer product in 1978, and the can changed to Silver color hence the nickname “Silver bullet.”

What Brands Does Coors Promote?

Coors was unique with a range of alcoholic beverage brands; the most notable are;

  • Coors Banquet
  • Coors light
  • Blue moon, and
  • Miller

Answers To Some Common Frequently Asked Questions On Coors Products

The following are answers to some common questions people asked about Coors beers

1. What is the Main Difference Between Coors Banquet and Coors Original?

Coors Banquet, which is now referred to as Coors original, is more full-bodied than Coors light, and the original Coors recipe inspires it. The company discovered the original recipe in 1873, and Coors banquet used to be the only product from the company. It has since been tweaked over the years, with some elements of the original recipe being retained.

2. Does Coors Banquet Tastes Like Coors Light?

Coors banquet is characterized by its bready and slightly hoppy feature. The Coors light, according to some people, tastes like “piss.” Banquet comes with an extra piss flavor, while Coors light tastes like cold water with some light beer flavor.

3. What Percentage of Alcohol is Coors Banquet?

With just 5% alcoholic content, the percentage of Coors banquet alcohol is similar to most of the beers we have in the world today.

Coors- The Controversies Surrounding The Company’s Policies And Operations

Like many organizations in the US, Coors has struggled to handle many controversies, of which labor disputes were most prominent.

In April 1977, for instance, the brewery workers Union at Coors, a union representing as many as 1,472 employees, went on strike over labor disputes.

During the striking period, the brewery kept operating with the supervisors and senior workers who were just less than 300 as at the time. Soon after, the company threatened to hire replacement workers for the striking employees. Following this threat, about 700 striking workers decided to resume work, and Coors eventually sacked the remaining ones who refused to quit the strike actions.

With the end of the major labor dispute, the company was able to keep the beer production business running. In December 1978, the majority of the workers at Coors voted by a two-to-one ratio to decertify the labor union, and this ended the 44-year labor unionism in the company. Since the strike action was more than a year, the striking workers could not vote at the election.

Parent labor Unions decided to punish Coors for its anti-labor policies and decided to boycott the company after the disbandment of the company’s labor union. One of the tactics employed by the parent unions was a push for each state to pass laws banning the sale of the unpasteurized bottle and canned beer.

At the time of the beginning of the ban on unpasteurized beer, Coor was the only company selling such beer; hence the company suffered serious financial setbacks as sales plummeted drastically. The decade-long labor battle did affect the company negatively, but Coors also attributed the drop in sales to an industry-wide downturn in beer sales plus a significant increase in competition.

To maintain production during the labor battle, Coors decided to expand its operations from 18 Western states of the country to other regions. The expansion was completed in 1991 with the state of Indiana, the last one to be completed.

The parent labor unions decided to end the boycott of Coors in 1987 after several negotiations with Pete Coors- the head of operations. However, the settlement between the two parties was not divulged to the public but was believed to include an early union representation election at Coors. This means the company agreed to unban unionism. It was also agreed that the sacked union workers would be hired after the completion of the new Coors brewery in Virginia.

In 1988, the Teamsters Union that represented all brewery workers at the top three US breweries at that time(Miller, Stroh, and Anheuser-Busch) gained sufficient signatures to start a union representation election inside Coors. Coors workers again rejected the union representation by a vote of the two-to-one vote, thus creating another crisis.

Other Controversies Surrounding Coors

Coors had been faced with several other minor issues, aside from the major labor issues it faced earlier. The Mexican-Americans had accused Coors of discriminatory hiring policies, especially after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The American-Mexican people also launched several attacks on the company, especially the boycott of all its products, at that time.

The boycott of Coors products by Mexican-Americans began in the late 1960s, and later on, labor unions and LGBT activists decided to back the group by joining the boycott. The boycott of Coors products by these groups seemed to yield positive results as the company decided in the late 1970s never to discriminate against any group of Americans in its hiring process.

Coor also became the first brewery in the Nation in the 1980s to agree never to discriminate against homosexuals and minority races.

In 1975, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission had instituted a federal lawsuit against the company over its hiring and firing policies. The case ended in an out-of-court settlement, and the company agreed not to discriminate against blacks, Hispanics, and women.

Similarly, in 1977, Coors was accused of firing its gay and lesbian workers, but in the late 1970s, Coors agreed never to discriminate against the LGBT community of its workforce, and it became the first major brewery in the US to make such a statement.

Coors took a step further to help its gay and lesbian workers become part of the Lesbian and Gay Employee Resource (LAGER) group in 1993. In 1995, the company became the United State’s 21st publicly-traded company in the country. In the same year, the company extended its employee benefits to its gay and lesbian workers community.

When the company’s chairman- Pete Coor, was accused of being homophobic during the 2004 Republican party primaries for the senatorial seat in the state of Colorado, he defended the policy as a necessary procedure for good business practice.

At the same time when the primaries for the Republican party were being held, critics had cited the Coors family Castle Rock Foundation’s history of sending gifts to organizations that support anti-gay `rights. This gesture was said to be louder than the company’s multi-million-dollar business campaigns.


Coors was regarded as illegal primarily because of its anti-pasteurization procedure and not its initial stance against the LGBT community. Though, its labor crisis and anti-gay policies tend to have contributed and fueled the change of company rules in the end. According to some customers, the non-application of pasteurization made Coor beer as perishable as milk, which means the quality of the beer depreciates rapidly just the way milk depreciates even after a few days. Though Coor products were initially banned, it is quite common to see some of them back in the market today after the company’s policies were changed.