A Chicago bar is dropping all MillerCoors products five months after a member of the Coors family co-hosted a fundraiser for president-elect Donald Trump.
Melani Domingues, owner of The Green Lady on North Lincoln Avenue, announced Wednesday on Facebook that she would sell off her last five cases of Miller Lite and Miller High Life for an inflated cost of $6 per bottle, donate all profits to Planned Parenthood in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence and then stop patronizing the company.
Domingues said she only recently became aware of the July fundraiser co-hosted by Pete Coors — who sits on the board of Molson Coors, the parent company of MillerCoors — and it struck her as an outlet to take a stand on Trump’s surprising win and what she feels has been an avalanche of negative discourse coming from the Republican Party.
"I’m not trying to judge anyone for what they do, but as a publican and a citizen, this is how I can stand up and be counted and model behavior for my 5-year-old girl," Domingues said Thursday morning. "I’ve been struggling over the last few weeks with what to say to her when she asks how can so many people vote for someone so mean. I say that a lot of people are trying to figure that out."
In a statement Thursday, Chicago-based MillerCoors said Pete Coors’ support of Trump is independent of the company: "Neither MillerCoors nor Molson Coors takes a position on Presidential races. Whomever our employees choose to support is their business, not ours. As a citizen, Pete Coors exercised his right to personally support the nominee of his political party. We respect Pete’s right to support any candidate in the same way we support that same right for any of our employees.
"MillerCoors is made-up of 8,100 hard-working beer people who rely on their jobs to provide for their families. Calling for a boycott of our brands only harms them and the hundreds of businesses across the country, large and small, which we are proud to call our partners."
MillerCoors spokesman Marty Maloney said the company has traditionally been active in progressive causes such as LGBT equality in the workplace — it was named Corporation of the Year by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in 2015 — and funding scholarships for minority students.
Pete Coors is a long-time prominent Colorado conservative, including a failed bid for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2004. He was previously chief executive officer of Molson Coors and chairman of MillerCoors. The Coors brand has traditionally been associated with right-leaning politics, and been the target of sporadic boycotts since the 1960s.
The Green Lady is the third business in Chicago’s craft beer industry to oppose Trump in some fashion since the real estate mogul and former reality television star declared his candidacy for president.
In June 2015, Bedford Park’s 5 Rabbit Cerveceria pulled a beer it had made for Trump Hotel Chicago and sent it to bars across the city (including The Green Lady) renamed Chinga Tu Pelo — a salty Spanish reference to Trump’s hair. Last summer, Spiteful Brewing released a beer called Dumb Donald, which featured an unmistakable likeness of Trump on the label.
Just before the election, Dick Yuengling, owner of Pennsylvania’s D.G. Yuengling & Son, endorsed Trump, causing a swift backlash from bars and drinkers.
The Green Lady, 3328 N. Lincoln Ave., is one of the more progressive craft beer bars in Chicago but sells $3 bottles of Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Miller High Life during its weekly trivia competitions.
On Wednesday night, Domingues revealed her decision to drop MillerCoors products on The Green Lady’s Facebook page, listing 24 "beers to avoid" that are owned by the company, including Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and all Miller products.
She also posted a link to the Denver Post article that clued her into the fundraiser, which the Post reported was co-hosted by Pete Coors and former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan for "at least $10,000 per couple to attend the lunch at Shanahan’s Denver home."
Domingues said she’s not trying to turn away business from Trump voters — few as they may be on the North Side of Chicago — and is open to any “open-minded, productive discussion.” Though she could lose a few customers, she said that’s not her concern.
"Everyone has a choice of where and how they spend their money," she said. "If they support us, that’s awesome, and if they don’t, that’s awesome too because they’re taking their own stand."
Asked if she would boycott MillerCoors products if Pete Coors had hosted a fundraiser for a more typical Republican candidate who later won the election, she called it "a tough question to answer."
"It wasn’t a normal election, and now it boils down to the hate spewing,” Domingues said “It’s all due to circumstances we’re living in now in this post-election landscape.”