In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, Miller Lite, a brand of Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co., is partnering with historian Eric Cervini for the release of “Beers and Queer History,” a brief history guide detailing how bars and bar culture have played a crucial role in empowering the community to live authentically and freely, the company says.
“We are honored to be partnering with Dr. Cervini to shed more visibility on the important role bars have played within the LGBTQ+ community for decades,” said Sofia Colucci, vice president of marketing, Miller Family of Brands, in a statement. “Miller Lite is a beer that believes everyone should live authentically and that's why we are so proud to tell these untold stories with society at large with Dr. Cervini.”
The guide is written by Cervini, an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ politics, a New York Times bestselling author, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In the guide's foreword, Cervini shares the importance of queer bars throughout history:
"Bars were our havens. For most of the 20th Century, an era of rampant homophobia and transphobia, many LGBTQ+ folks had no choice but to live double lives. During the day, while at work or with their families, they acted straight. For their own safety, they often concealed their gender identities. But at night, they went to the bars, where ― at last ― they could be themselves."
Miller Lite has been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community dating back to the 1970s when the brand sponsored the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Throughout the 1990s, the brand would show up at PrideFest events and Pride Weeks in New York City, the company notes.
Additionally, Miller Brewing was one of the first companies to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits, since 2000, the company says.
“Beers and Queer History” is the latest endeavor under Miller Lite's Open & Proud program, which supports the LGBTQ+ community through a multi-year partnership with Equality Federation. Miller Lite has partnered with Equality Federation since 2017 and its contributions help fund the organization's various initiatives, including its annual Leadership Conference, workplace nondiscrimination efforts, and transgender rights.
The name of the guide, “Beers & Queer History,” is to ensure the inclusion of all LGBTQ+ identities. While once a pejorative term, "queer" has taken on a new, positive meaning as members of the community have reclaimed the word and encourage its use to be inclusive of all, the company says.
As the next generation of queer voices joins the ranks of its predecessors, the “Beers and Queer History” guide can serve as a reference point for the incredible change that has come out of queer bars, and for what's possible for this community in the future, it adds.
"Beers and Queer History" is available for presale in limited quantities at shop.MillerLite.com and all proceeds will go to Equality Federation. The guide will be released in early 2022.