New Coors Light special edition cans manufactured by the brewer (see picture) feature the Puerto Rican flag, specifically its incarnation within the official National Puerto Rican Day Parade logo.
In a statement sent to BeverageDaily.com, SAB Miller and Molson Coors JV MillerCoors emphasized its “strong track record of responsible advertising and marketing”.
Coors Light had supported the National Puerto Rican Day Parade for the last seven years – this year’s parade takes place on June 9, “in celebration and honor of Puerto Rican heritage”, the brand added.
‘Total disrespect for the flag’
But the company has upset New York-based moved ‘Boricuas for a Positive Image’ (Boricuas is a term used by Puerto Ricans to identify themselves) and Vincent Torres from the East Harlem movement told the New York Observer that the MillerCoors move showed “total disrespect for the flag”.
Some Puerto Rican Americans are unhappy about the image (where it includes a logo incorporating the flag) being associated with an alcoholic beverage, due to their comparatively high average rates of alcohol dependence among Latino populations in the US.
Trends in drinking among Hispanics in the US vary by country of origin, but among men and women tend to drink the most (16.9 drinks/week for men; 9.5 for women) and Cubans the least (8.4, 3.4), according to 2006 data collected for the Hispanic Americans Baseline Alcohol Survey.
And while Hispanics have high rates of alcohol abstinence – with non-Hispanic Whites more likely to drink – those who do drink are more likely to consumer higher volumes than non-Hispanic Whites (26% vs. 21% reported drinking 4+/5+ drinks monthly or more 12+ times in the previous year.
This according to 2001-2002 data collected for the US Department of Health sponsored National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol & Related Conditions.
‘Demonstration of our official alliance’: MillerCoors
Boricuas for a Positive Image does not have a contact telephone number, and the group had not replied to a request for comment from BeverageDaily.com as we went to press.
However, in a Facebook posting on Sunday, the group referenced a “campaign against Coors and its insulting use of the Puerto Rican flag on their beer cans”.
An earlier post, on May 22, states: “Coors Light uses the Puerto Rican Flag and Parade on its product in the latest exploitation of our culture.”
But MillerCoors told us it used the parade logo (incorporating an apple to symbolize New York, a star and red and blue colors) as “a demonstration of our official alliance and support of the organization”.
Over the years, MillerCoors had contributed to the Parade’s Diversity Scholarship Fund helping students manage the financial burdens of higher education, it said.
“As a strong partner of the organization and the Puerto Rican community in New York, through organizations such as the Hispanic Federation, The National Puerto Rican Coalition and ASPIRA, we will continue our support of the 2013 National Puerto Rican Day Parade,” the brand added.
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