When I was 15, I got officially drunk, as I know the word today. Living in a downtrodden, post-auto, Michigan boomtown had a small benefit in that purchasing alcohol in what adults referred to as a “bad area” only required an ID known as cash.”
Sure, I’d consumed an Old Style, Old Milwaukee, or a Coors or 4 before. Took nips out of a bottle of Black Velvet, even puffed on what in retrospect was probably just oregano rolled up in a page of the Old Testament, but I had never sat down with the sole intention of getting “drunk.” Quickly, and thoroughly, although not extremely excessively. That would come later.
On a sweltering July evening I commissioned a neighborhood kid referred to as Crazy Cooter to purchase a 40 of Cool Colt .45 for me on his way home, with the promise of “5 bucks and you can keep the change.” Ever have Cool Colt .45? It’s essentially menthol cigarette-flavored beer. After some recent research, I discovered that the good people at the Heileman Brewing Company created Cool Colt after failed attempts with “Rib Tips and Fried Chicken Colt .45,” Anheuser Busch’s “Government Cheese King Cobra,” and “Illegitimate Baby Makin’ Thunderbird Wine.”
Now just hold on a second, before I get back to the story, forget all about vintage advertising prints depicting African-Americans in a tar baby-esque manner. Even forget about Aunt Jemima in a do-rag. Cool Colt .45 has to be the most insulting, despicable, racist product in history.
It was malt liquor.
Named after a gun.
That was flavored like menthol cigarettes.
And was sold primarily in urban neighborhoods with a high population of African-Americans.
It’s not like St. Ides came out with malt liquor that tasted like orange soda and then made advertisements featuring Ice Cube encouraging its demographic to purchase the product with the use of rap lyrics such as, “Get your jimmy thicker, with St. Ides Malt Liquor.”
Oh, wait. They did. I have the plethora of St. Ides hip-hop commercials memorized. My buddies used to intersperse them on VHS mix tapes of videos recorded from BET’s Rap City or YO! MTV Raps. On just in time for the kids to watch them after school.
It’s not like Budweiser or Miller ever marketed to poor white people by plastering their name all over a stock car driven by a hillbilly at 200 miles an hour, crashing into other hillbilly-piloted cars with Mountain Dew on the side while in a race sponsored by Winston cigarettes, did they?
Oh wait. They did. Except now Winston doesn’t sponsor them anymore. Drinking and driving? Sure. Drinking and driving AND smoking? No way. Looks like tobacco lobbyists need to step their game up. It’s the Sprint Cup now, because driving and talking on your cell phone is...sigh. Goddamnit.
To be fair, Cool Colt .45 is no longer in production. They decided to just make plain old Gun Liquor after discovering that African-Americans don’t eat cigarette butts. Although I heard that there’s plans to release a new brand of malt liquor named “Damn!.” There’s absolutely no “I can’t read” text on the bottle, just a close up of a Jet centerfold’s ass in a thong on the label.
They’re gonna offer a rebate if you drink it, urinate into the bottle, and mail it back to the company where it’ll be repackaged as Sammy Hager’s Dark Lager and sold to inbred white people at his state fair appearances.
I’m kidding. White people birthed from society’s acceptable breeding practices would probably be just as interested in an $8 plastic cup of sweet black piss, as long as it had the endorsement of the Red Rocker.