Coors, the US's third-largest brewer, rankled the Chicago Art Institute and the Visual Artists and Galleries Association for making a spoof of Grant Wood's 1930 painting.
The problem, however, allegedly wasn't with the two men, but with the beer. The museum's spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune
, "The gay issue is irrelevant to us."
Coors has been advertising in gay publications since the 1980's, but the year 2000 marked its largest-ever outlay for gay-specific ads, said Mary Cheney, then corporate relations manager for gays and lesbians at Coors. She did not give specific figures, but said ad spending to gays alone increased 20% by the end of 2000.
Beer marketers in 1999 spent about $1.5 million advertising in national and local gay publications, according to Rivendell Marketing in New Jersey.
Beer companies are well represented in The Commercial Closet, largely due to an effort in the mid-1990s to pull away from the industry's longterm sexist advertising themes that objectified women. Such commercials were summed up by the Swedish Bikini Team ads from Stroh Brewing Co. for Old Milwaukee. Looking for new material to mine, brewers began extensively playing with gay and transgender themes in their advertising. However, because beer drinkers are stereotypically macho, the tone of many of the ads were more negative.