History of Yellow Jacket Beer – Iconic Coors Yellow Jacket

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Coors beer and its line of goods are a continually well-liked series of beer products in the field of light beer, particularly so within the American beer market. Molson Coors’ Coors Original and Coors Light brands are among its most well-known products.

Particularly today, beer drinkers love the beautiful iconic American lager variety of Coors banquet beers. Of course, the deliciousness of the yellow jacket beer is a major contributing factor to this. Having said that, the yellow jackets, which represent the company’s pride, are also renowned for their important past.

Additionally, they’ve also had a distinct impact on popular culture. We couldn’t bear the thought of you spending another day not realising that Clint Eastwood and Ray Charles once sang a duet about this tremendous beer.

Therefore, this article will provide you with all you need to know about yellow jacket beer and its history and influence on American culture.

Table of Contents

What Is Coors Banquet Beer?

The Coors Banquet beer is where the phrase “yellow jacket beer” originates. Adolph Coors, the creator of the firm, made this beverage available to people throughout western America. From the time this beer was first introduced to the present, the now-Molson Coors firm has taken pride in employing “rocky mountain spring water.” According to some, this gives the Coors banquet beer a “drinkable, mile-high taste.”

As a result, Coors Banquet definitely pays homage to an American beer that is more prevalent in the past. This is due to the characteristic malt core that Moravian barley imparts to fresh, cold beers like Yellow Jacket beer, also known as Yellow Bellies. Because of the water from the granite mountains, it also has a fresh, revitalising finish.

Want to learn more about the Difference Between Malt Liquor and Beer? Visit our guide!

However, compared to other lagers in its class, Coors Banquet provides a small amount of sweetness. This is due to the fact that the notes additionally include those of grain, corn, freshly made bread, and banana bread.

The colour of yellow jacket beer can range from golden to pale straw in appearance. The beer frequently has a medium-sized head that vanishes within a few minutes.

Wondering What Is Beer Made Of? Visit our in-depth guide on beer ingredients!

Coors beer can
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Yellow Jacket Beer History

The beverage known as Coors Banquet Beer or Yellow Jacket Beer has a long and complex history. In light of this, a few aluminium cans of this light beer can provide some amusing conversation starters. Especially if you are surrounded by history and/or beer buffs.

When Coors was established in 1873, miners in Clear Creek Canyon gave it the moniker “Banquet Beer” because they would consume it in large banquet tents or halls when there were none available. It wasn’t until 1937 that the term was given formal status as Coors attempted to fight the Depression with a form of nostalgia that miraculously avoided the 1980s.

The same year that Coors unveiled its waterfall design, the company also adopted the tagline “America’s Fine Light Beer” and “Brewed with Rocky Mountain Spring Water.”

You will be pleasantly delighted to learn that the history of American beer makes for an excellent conversational topic, regardless of what area of modern American history you are interested in.

Particularly when combined with this beer’s vivid qualities and watery flavour profile as well as those of other Coors brands. In light of this, refer to the headings below for more details on the background of Coors Banquet or Yellow Jacket Beer:

The Coors Banquet Beer Roots

The genesis story—or rather, the absence of one—for a person, location, item, or product is a factor that might give something’s history a little extra attraction. The history of the Coors Banquet is no different than many other things in this regard. In actuality, this is a German-inspired American lager that was first made popular by Colorado’s thirsty miners.

Adolph Coors, a German immigrant, first arrived in America in 1863, to be more precise. Following this, he moved to the West and established the Coors Company in 1873 in Golden, Colorado.

The new light beer developed by Adolph Coors, in particular, was a huge hit with the miners. They were all situated in the nearby Clear Creek Canyon. Coors was frequently consumed in the area’s banquet halls and enormous banquet tents by the thirsty miners.

As a result, the miners gradually started referring to the light beverage in these circles as the “banquet beer.” However, it would be nearly sixty years before the Coors beer firm would use the term Banquet Beer.

The Prohibition Era

The Coors Company naturally found itself in a difficult predicament during the Prohibition era. The explanation for this is that, of course, they will know how they created their brand. This is how a brewing firm is envisioned.

As a result, when Prohibition came into effect, they were ordered by the federal government to stop producing and distributing alcohol for leisure.

The Coors Company would dramatically change its business strategy in a number of different ways in response to this.

First, they would manufacture distilled alcohol that was under government supervision, which may seem rather straightforward. This was done in order to meet the demands of pharmacists, who would often receive prescriptions for alcohol for medical reasons.

Alongside pivoting into the medical alcohol business, though, the company would also engage in some other non-alcoholic business pursuits. These include the creation of a non-alcoholic Coors Pure Cereal Beverage in addition to malted milk. The latter of which being produced up to the year nineteen fifty-seven and distributed as far as Australia.

As such, at the time, it was in wider distribution than Coors Banquet/Yellow Jacket beer had ever reached at that time. But the brewery’s operation as a porcelain factory was perhaps the most novel course it pursued throughout the Prohibition era.

This is because Germany had been entirely destroyed during the First World War, also known as the Great War at the time. Prior to now, Germany was the main producer of chemical and scientific porcelain. As a result, the market had a gap. There is a void brought about by the destruction of Adolph Coors’s native country.

However, Coors would bring back their lineup of alcoholic light beers after the repeal of Prohibition. But the original Coors beer was at the top of it. However, it was formally marketed as Coors dinner beer just four years later, in 1927. This is in stark contrast to the prior situation, where it had only been a moniker.

However, this rebranding was justified because it provided a welcome dose of nostalgia during the Great Depression. The new beer slogans were similar. These are “Brewed with Rocky Mountain Spring Water” and “America’s Fine Light Beer.” Additionally, a waterfall logo was unveiled in conjunction with this.

Twentieth Century Exclusivity

The fact that Coors’ signature yellow-striped beer was formerly exclusively offered in a select group of eleven states contributed to the brand’s mystique. Between the repeal of Prohibition and the year 1976, this was true.

The western coast of the United States of America is where these eleven states are all located. This is due to the fact that the original Coors Banquet type was unpasteurized and devoid of preservatives.

Because of this, the yellow stripe beer has to be kept cool during storage and delivery in order to be suitable for consumption. Long-distance excursions were therefore not feasible at the time of the Coors dinner distribution.

Additionally, selling and keeping unpasteurized beer on the shelves is prohibited in some American states. In other words, the Coors Company had no practical need to sell them in these states. As a result, many people have assumed that Coors beer was prohibited throughout the states east of Texas and the Mississippi.

Despite all of this, the process leading to Coors’ countrywide distribution would start in the 1950s. During this period, Coors contributed to the development of cold filtering, chilled trucks, sterile filling, and aluminium cans. Nevertheless, after Coors had finally reached Indiana in the year 1921 and had undergone all of these steps, the nationalisation of the company would finally be complete.

The Modern Day

The Coors brand is well-known in the current day throughout much of the globe. But the mystery surrounding yellow stripe beer is well-known both in America and throughout most of the rest of the world.

America’s northern neighbours are one of the most notable and recent examples of this. The Coors Banquet beer didn’t manage to get to Canada until the year 213. Even before this, though, there was a huge desire for this specific beer in Canada, as seen by the hugely successful Facebook page “Bring Coors Banquet to Canada,” which would soon pay off.

The findings showed that there was a significant demand even before Coors was made available in Canada. As a result of Canadians’ hurried buying of Yellow Jacket Beer, it was instantly out of stock in several areas. For instance, a business owner in Alberta claimed that a “new product is gone before we know it, with people buying it by the flat.”

In the meantime, the Coors Banquet legend has persisted to this day in the United States. One such instance of this happened in the year 2014. This occurred when a firefighter put out a car fire that he came upon on the road using a case of Coors Banquet. Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison responded by supporting “the extinguishment of fire, no matter what the cost” in response to the destruction of this perfectly delicious beer.

However, Coors recently introduced a redesign of the Coors banquet can in the year 22. This item, which belonged to the legacy collection, is known as “the heritage can.” The aesthetics of this new can are somewhat reminiscent of earlier Coors banquet cans.

The history of Coors Banquet beer is somewhat unusual and illustrative, as shown in the section above. Of course, this dates back to its foundation and the Prohibition era. In addition to its exclusivity during most of the 20th century and its ongoing influence on American culture.

However, despite the fact that this beer has a fascinating history, it has also had a significant influence on American popular culture. These pop culture influences come from a wide spectrum of various events and media appearances. Some of these include:

  • The colours show
  • The cult of Coors
  • Smokey and the bandit
  • The “beers to you duet” by Clint Eastwood and Ray Charles
  • Kobra Cai
  • E.T.
  • Yellowstone

The Coors Show

Coors is not unfamiliar with the notion of entering the entertainment sector. The Coors Show, which debuted in the 1940s, is a good early example of this. This was a radio variety show with well-known people on it.

One such was the jazz ensemble led by American composer, pianist, and pianist Duke Ellington. Mel Torme, popularly known as “The Velvet Fog,” was another notable person in the period. He was a well-known American musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, percussionist, actor, and author.

The Cult Of Coors

Due to Coors Banquet’s infrequent availability, the brand had developed something of a cult following by the 1960s.

According to several urban legends, Presidents Eisenhower and Ford would always have plenty of Coors Banquet on board Air Force One. It was rumoured that Ford, in particular, had served it every Thursday at the White House Mess.

But in addition to that, Keith Richards would frequently have a can on hand when performing. Paul Newman once told Roger Ebert that Coors is the best domestic beer, hands down.

Even before this, the famed comedian W.C. Fields and George Coors were rumoured to be good friends. Something that is plainly visible in one of his holiday notes, where he is holding a Coors bottle.

Smokey And The Bandit

In the 1977 movie “Smokey And The Bandit,” Coors Banquet appears in maybe one renowned and iconic instance of popular fiction.

The director of the movie, Hal Needham, was in Georgia, where yellow jacket beer had somewhat of a cult following. He was here organising the stunts for the Burt Reynolds and Gator movie.

His chauffeur captain had brought some Coors into the country illegally from California and had given Needham some as a gift. But the bottles kept disappearing, and Hal Needham soon learned that his hotel room cleaner had been taking them.

Due to this, Needham reasoned that “This must be serious stuff” when speaking about Coors. A nice movie plot would involve smuggling Coors.

As a result, “Smokey And The Bandit” would be released the next year. The movie centres on two truckers. They are both employed to smuggle a beer trailer filled with the beverage across state lines.

This is the result of a wager with a local businessman. This led to a cross-state chase, during which they were pursued by a sheriff and the abandoned fiancé of a bride they had met along the way.

The “Beers To You Duet” By Clint Eastwood And Ray Charles

The fact that the Coors Banquet cult craze inspired Clint Eastwood and Ray Charles to record a duet is possibly one of the phenomena’s most peculiar peculiarities. This is intended for the “Any Which Way You Can” soundtrack.

This is a rather bizarre movie about a truck driver who becomes a prizefighter and his brother. Both of whom get themselves involved in a string of escapades involving mobsters, motorcycle gangs, corrupt police, and women. All the while, their pet orangutan travels with the two brothers.

The soundtrack, which Clint Eastwood and Ray Charles both contributed to, is possibly one of the most notable components of the movie. This was a sincere duet named “Beers To You,” which paid homage to Coors beer.

Cobra Kai

The appearance of Coors Banquet in the television programme Cobra Kai is another instance of how prevalent it is in contemporary popular culture. Following Johnny, the main antagonist of the 1984 film “Karate Kid.” Cobra Kai’s feud with Danny LaRusso is Johnny in the present day. When Johnny discovered his old childhood karate dojo, this was rekindled. Danny then made her own after that.

Both guys have firmly entered middle age at this time. As a result, Johnny has evolved into a man who doesn’t care what people think of him. He also enjoys perhaps a few too many Coors Banquets, on the other hand. He also very much follows his own path in the meanwhile. As a result, even though Johnny isn’t the stereotypical hero, he works well as an antihero in the mould of Rip or even The Bandit.


However, speaking of Coors spokespersons, one of the other important individuals in Banquet’s past is arguably the most well-known extraterrestrial, E.T. Now, it might seem strange to choose a mascot from a well-known children’s movie. It most certainly is, particularly for the spokesperson for alcoholic beverages.

This, however, makes perfect sense given that the figure was featured in arguably the best “drink responsibly” campaign ever made. This is due to the fact that E.T encourages consumers to “phone home” rather than drive after consuming alcohol in the advertisement.


Other instances of the yellow jacket beer appearing in popular culture in more recent years can be found. One of them is in the context of the television programme “Yellowstone.”

The programme strongly evokes the uniquely American and slightly wayward aspects of Coors Banquet’s past. This is because a ranching family is the main subject of the narrative. Each of them is involved in a world of political intrigue, murderous mysteries, and war with both internal and external enemies.

Rip Wheeler, a typical American hard man who is cool but occasionally nasty and will defend his family at all means, serves as the muscle for the main family. Let’s just say that this character has a lot in common with old-school bootleggers and cowboys.

As a result, Rip is a man who enjoys a Coors Banquet, much like Burt Reynolds’ character in Smokey and The Bandit, and as such, he serves as a sort of fictitious corporate spokesperson.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What beer is called a yellow jacket?

Coors Banquet is a brand name that is more frequently used to refer to Yellow Jacket beer. This is due to the label’s distinctive and obvious yellow colour, which can be found on beer cans.

What kind of beer do they drink on the show Yellowstone?

Many of the characters in the television series “Yellowstone” enjoy a particular kind of beer, the Coors Banquet or Yellow Jacket beer. This is in particular, one of Rip Wheeler’s go-to drinks.

Why is Coors called the Banquet beer?

The thirsty miners of Colorado would frequently consume Coors in large banquet tents or banquet halls in the late nineteenth century. As a result, the miners gradually started referring to the light beverage in these circles as the “banquet beer.” However, the Coors beer firm would wait until 1927 to use the moniker Banquet Beer in an effort to pay homage to a more romantic era.

What kind of beer is Coors Banquet?

The Coors Company produces the golden lager beer known as Coors Banquet. The term was taken from the vernacular moniker that the Colorado miners gave it since they frequently ate it in nearby banquet tents or enormous banquet halls.

By Tickety Brew

Ivor Ardghal : Brewer and Writer at Tickety Brew