February 4, 2011

Minerva: Pride in Mexican Beer

Bodega 12 LGBT brewsA brand new beer, targetting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender market, has been launched in Mexico City.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, the beverage has labels depicting articles of gay pride. These are designed to be unglued, from the bottle, and worn as badges.

The 'artisan honey ale' arrives as 'Salamandra' or 'Purple Hand', both of which are buzz-words or icons harking back to the gay civil rights movements of the 1960s. They are designed in colors, which also have significance within the LGBT community. 'Salamandra' has a rainbow icon, while 'Purple Hand' is, well, purple.

Brewed by Minvera and distributed by Bodega 12, the malt-based beer contains 100% organic honey. Dario Rodriguez Wyler, the company's commercial director, explained, “We're out in the market, with great respect, with the idea of offering a product directed to the gay-lesbian community, that has been ignored for too long, but is important and very demanding."

Purple Hand

On October 31st, 1969, sixty members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Society for Individual Rights sat down in front of the Examiner offices, in San Francisco, USA. They were there to protest a series of homophobic articles, carried by the newspaper, concerning the city's gay and lesbian bars. Employees, inside the building, took revenge upon the protestors by emptying purple printer ink over them, from a third-storey window. Some say it was a barrel of ink; others say that they were several small bags of ink.

Whichever way it was, protestors were soon covered in the stuff. When the police arrived, it was to arrest those outside. None of the Examiner staff were ever so much as cautioned. However, some protestors did get away. They used their saturated clothing and bodies as ink pads, in order to leave purple hand-prints all over the city. It became a powerful display of gay power, in the climate of the times. The incident became known as 'Friday of the Purple Hand'.

Meanwhile, salamandra (salamander) can be described as a sexual innuendo, best exemplified by drinking the beer directly from the bottle.

LGBT beer

'Purple Hand' and 'Salamandra' are already available in bars and clubs throughout Mexico City, Guadalajara and several beach resort areas, including Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. Minerva are also planning to open a 'Purple Hand' club, in Mexico City. The ale is already due for export to the US, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Japan.

Minerva is just a tiny brewery, located in Jalisco, however they appear to have got this right. The company sold out of all 500 cases of their gay pride beer within just two days. They are naturally brewing more!

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