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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 4, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 05
Queer beer debuts in Mexico
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Queer beer debuts in Mexico

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Mexican microbrewery says it has successfully marketed a line of beer aimed at Mexico's LGBT community.

Jalisco-based Minerva brewery released and immediately sold out of its first 500 cases of Purple Hand beer.

Purple Hand, and its companion brew Salamandra, are brewed with 100% organic honey and malt, with a recipe that 'infuses the beer with a citrus flavor that appeals to the taste of the LGBT community,' according to brewery president Dario Rodriguez Wyler.

The name 'Purple Hand' is a reference to Halloween night, 1969, when 60 members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Society for Individual Rights protested in front of the San Francisco, California, Examiner newspaper in response to a series of news articles disparaging San Francisco's Gay bars and clubs.

What began as a peaceful protest turned tumultuous when Examiner employees doused the crowd with purple printers' ink. The protestors used the ink to stamp purple handprints all over downtown San Francisco, in what became one of the most visible demonstrations of Queer power.

Minerva's Rodriguez said the new line of beer has been controversial.

'We've received a lot of criticism about whether we were excluding heterosexuals, and yes, it is a product directed exclusively to the LGBT community,' said Rodríguez. 'It's been a great challenge, they tell us we are very brave for developing in México the first drink directed exclusive for such an interesting and badly tended to community.'

'It is very interesting that an entrepreneur has dared to release a product like this; and that he has the vision to release it for a specific market like the Gay market, seems even more interesting to me. It shouldn't be necessary to have a Gay-specific product, but in a society like the Mexican, where there's such a resistance to get involved in LGBT affairs, it is a very commendable initiative,' a local LGBT bar owner told Hispanically Speaking News.

Minerva has received offers from importers in the U.S., Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, and Japan, interested in introducing the beer to their markets.

The brewery says it wants to supply local demand before exporting their 'LGBT Line' which will also include red and rose wines.

This is not the first time that Minerva has released a product with a controversial target audience.

In 2007 the brewery released 'Malverde,' a light Pilsener named after the so-called 'Narco-saint' Jesús Malverde. Malverde is a Robin Hood-type figure in Mexican popular culture, and is venerated by Mexican drug traffickers as their patron saint.

Beer is the leading alcoholic beverage in Mexico.

Ninety-five percent of the beer market is controlled by the two largest breweries: the Modelo Group and Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma.

To compete with these giants, smaller breweries such as Minerva have started to target their products and produce specialized beer for niche markets.

Revolución Brewery has several revolutionary-inspired beers, such as the Maquiavelo English Brown Ale, Zapata Black Lager, Ché Guevara Pilsener, and 10 Marado Pilsener inspired by Argentine soccer revolutionary Diego Maradona.

A Guadalajara brewer, Rodrigo Contreras, has been locked in a legal battle with The Simpsons creator Matt Groening since 2006 over rights to produce Duff Beer.

Contreras designed the bottle to be identical to the one portrayed on The Simpsons. Groening has refused to allow Contreras to market the beer.

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