What was Malt Liquor?

Colt 45

Written by Andrew Rosenblum for accidentalblogger.typepad.com

When a Detroit minister named Mayowa Lisa Reynolds went to her City Council last summer to complain about malt liquor advertising, she came prepared. The minister had conducted a survey in which she found a Colt .45 billboard in every square mile of the city. She looked in the nearby, majority white suburbs of Plymouth and Royal Oak.There were none.

Still, the Colt .45 billboards were relatively inoffensive by the traditional standards of malt liquor advertising. In one notorious 1986 print spot for Midnight Dragon, a voluptuous woman grasped a squat 40 ounce bottle above the tagline “I could suck on this all night.” In the 90s, charismatic gangster rappers incorporated 40s into their tales of murder and drug-dealing, driving malt liquor sales to all-time highs. In contrast, the 2009 Colt .45 ads merely featured a cartoon drawing of longtime spokesman Billy Dee Williams dressed in mauve and beige evening wear, accompanied by the slogan, “Works Every Time.”

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