Brewing a Boycott

How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism

By Allyson P. Brantley

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6103-2
    Published: May 2021
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6102-5
    Published: May 2021
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6104-9
    Published: April 2021

Justice, Power, and Politics

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Awards & distinctions

2022 Robert G. Athearn Award, Western History Association

In the late twentieth century, nothing united union members, progressive students, Black and Chicano activists, Native Americans, feminists, and members of the LGBTQ+ community quite as well as Coors beer. They came together not in praise of the ice cold beverage but rather to fight a common enemy: the Colorado-based Coors Brewing Company. Wielding the consumer boycott as their weapon of choice, activists targeted Coors for allegations of antiunionism, discrimination, and conservative political ties. Over decades of organizing and coalition-building from the 1950s to the 1990s, anti-Coors activists molded the boycott into a powerful means of political protest.

In this first narrative history of one of the longest boycott campaigns in U.S. history, Allyson P. Brantley draws from a broad archive as well as oral history interviews with long-time boycotters to offer a compelling, grassroots view of anti-corporate organizing and the unlikely coalitions that formed in opposition to the iconic Rocky Mountain brew. The story highlights the vibrancy of activism in the final decades of the twentieth century and the enduring legacy of that organizing for communities, consumer activists, and corporations today.

About the Author

Allyson P. Brantley is assistant professor of history and Director of Honors & Interdisciplinary Initiatives at the University of La Verne.
For more information about Allyson P. Brantley, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"Integrating archival records from activists, mainstream and grassroots periodicals, and oral history interviews, Allyson Brantley offers an illuminating account of how boycotters organized a diverse coalition to fight the anti-union, discriminatory practices of Coors and its neoliberal ideology. Labor historians, social movement scholars, and researchers who study how politics influence consumer behavior will find notable contributions in Brantley's book." – Business History Review

“This impressive book sheds new light on the history of intersectional activism and conservative politics, as well as labor and business history. It is one of the most clarifying, empirically rich analyses of post-1960s activism ever written.” – Pacific Historical Review

"The text is sure to result in major contributions for future research and scholarship on this important subject matter. Every library should obtain a copy for collections on labor, grassroots politics, and social movements history."—CHOICE

“Excellent. . . . Brantley’s examination of the boycotts themselves reveals a great deal about the complexities involved when different groups work together towards common goals.”—Society for US Intellectual History

"Brewing a Boycott is an energizing, engaging, and richly researched account of the multiple coalitions that won power through the years-long boycott of Coors Beer."--Emily K. Hobson, author of Lavender and Red: Liberation and Solidarity in the Gay and Lesbian Left

"A concise, accessible, and eminently readable history of the Coors boycott. Activists are front and center in this comprehensive look at the campaign in all of its complexity and permutations."--Lauren Araiza, author of To March for Others: The Black Freedom Struggle and the United Farm Workers