OPINION: Between the Lines.
It had to be Coopers.
Looking like hostages in a ransom video the brewery bosses sat ashen-faced and apologised to everyone after their beer became the centrepiece of a piece of clumsy beer evangelism.
The beer was a “partner” in a Bible Society “keep it light” ad, where MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie had a “light” discussion of same-sex marriage. Just what we all want – a beer and a chat with a politician. But the topic is not such a “light” matter to people on the wrong side of discrimination.
While same-sex marriage is supported by a clear majority of Australians, some people don’t agree. They’re allowed to have their opinion and express it.
But when your favourite beer gets involved to promote a group on one side of the argument, well that’s another matter for a lot of progressive beer drinkers.
Boycotts and keg turnoffs prompted the hostage video, with Coopers then stating their rainbow love and promising to join Marriage Equality Australia.
But is it too late? Has Pale Ale fallen from icon to graven idol – not just from the ad but also the news Coopers is a long-time donor to the Liberal Party, the Bible Society and other religious groups, some of which actively oppose marriage equality?
This comes as a shock to lefty green types who have long identified Coopers as more progressive than the regular swill – no preservatives, family owned, artisan-like.
And their vegan mates can enjoy it, as Coopers avoids the fish bladder product many brewers use to remove sediment.
While Young Liberal functions serve Crownies, a Greenpeace do serves Pale.
Coopers rode its progressive image all the way to the bank. And the fact a family from old money in Adelaide might have deep conservative connections is hardly a shock.
Let's be honest, if VB supported a blokey conservative group would there be a boycott?
This doesn't mean VB drinkers are any more bigoted than those who prefer New. But it’s the clash with their perceived image that stung many Coopers people.
People trust beer; they don’t trust politicians. Beer is honest; but look closely at the ad and you’ll see Tim Wilson makes it all the way through the whole seven minutes without drinking any of his Coopers.
- Ben Langford is a Mercury journalist. He has enjoyed Coopers Pale Ale before but prefers a crisper pilsener anyway.