1824/1847

Frederick John Miller, founder of Miller Brewing Company, and Adolph Coors, founder of Coors Brewing Company, are born only a few hundred kilometers—and 23 years—apart. Miller was a renowned German brewer at age 25. Coors began his brewer’s apprenticeship at age 14.

1855

After immigrating to the United States, Frederick Miller settles in Milwaukee. There he leases and later purchases the Plank Road Brewery for $2,300. He brings a unique brewer’s yeast from Germany (its descendant yeast is still used in some of our beers) and goes to work brewing delicious beer.

1873

After stowing away on a ship to cross the Atlantic, Adolph Coors opens The Golden Brewery in Colorado. His partner Jacob Schueler, provides $18,000 for the start-up. Coors, age 26, chips in $2,000 plus his expertise and experience as a brewer.

1880

Adolph Coors buys out Jacob Schueler to become sole owner of the brewery. Production is 3,500 barrels a year—but just 10 years later, Coors makes 17,600 barrels annually and the company is financially on firm ground.

1883

Miller begins bottling in his own facility.

1884

Coors patents a corking machine and bottle washer.

1885

Coors launches its first recycling effort—45 cents for a dozen empty quart bottles.

1886

Miller pasteurizes its beer for the first time, becoming one of the first breweries in the world to use the new technology developed by Louis Pasteur.

1887

After years of fermenting its beer in limestone caves chilled by ice blocks, Miller starts using mechanical refrigeration. This enables Miller to ferment beer above ground, enabling better brewing control and year-round production.

1888

Frederick Miller dies. Immediate family members continue his legacy. He leaves money to Milwaukee’s Marquette University and various Milwaukee charities. His children and grandchildren will carry on his philanthropic legacy.

1893

Coors beer, made exclusively from Colorado barley, wins a national brewing competition at the Chicago World’s Fair.

1903

The brand name Miller High Life is first used, with the beer packaged in clear bottles.

1904

Mechanical filling, labeling and capping is in full production at Miller. Bottled beer means more choices for customers and higher sales. It also boosts the company's image, as customers can now see the Miller brand emblazoned on the label of every bottle.

1906

Adolph Coors starts a relief fund for victims of the San Francisco earthquake.

1913

Adolph Coors incorporates the company, changing it from a wholly owned proprietorship into a corporation in which he shared ownership with his three sons and three daughters.

1916-1933

Prohibition hits Colorado in 1916, then the nation in 1919. Both companies survive by branching into different products. But most breweries aren't so fortunate. More than half of the nation's breweries don’t reopen when Prohibition ends in 1933.

1936/1937

The Moravian barley strain is introduced. Since then, it has become a brewery staple.

1937

Coors adopts the slogan, “Brewed With Pure Rocky Mountain Water.” The slogan serves the company admirably for the next 50 years.

1941-1945

World War II creates shortages of beer-making materials. Coors and Miller once again rely on ingenuity, judicious use of brewing resources, and careful financial management to survive.

1949/1955

Miller and Coors each top one million barrels of production annually.

1959

Coors introduces the country’s first all-aluminum, two-piece beverage can. The company also launches an American recycling revolution by offering a penny for every can returned to the brewery.

1970

Philip Morris Companies Inc. buys Miller Brewing Company.

 

1975

Miller launches Miller Lite, the first nationally distributed low-calorie beer, and creates a sensation. Booming sales of Miller Lite vault Miller from the nation’s fourth-largest brewer to second in just two years. A famous Miller Lite ad campaign begins with TV commercial "...everything you wanted in a beer. And less."

1975

Coors beer is achieving the height of its cult status. Limited distribution leaves East Coast consumers clamoring for Coors - and some fans, including U.S. President Gerald Ford, return from western trips with cases of Coors.

1978

Coors introduces the Coors Light brand, dubbed the “Silver Bullet.”

1981

George Killian’s Irish Red, which was first brewed by George Lett in Enniscorthy, Ireland in 1864, is introduced in the U.S., becoming one of the first red lagers available in the states.

 

1982

High Life’s “Miller Time” ad campaign becomes “Welcome to Miller Time.”


1984

Miller rolls out Milwaukee’s Best nationally.

1986

Miller launches Miller Genuine Draft, the original cold-filtered packaged draft beer.

1988

Miller buys the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, enabling the family brewery out of Chippewa Falls, Wis., to grow and expand. Leinie’s continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.

1989

Coors introduces the Keystone franchise, including Keystone and Keystone Light, to great consumer response.

 

1991

Coors finally becomes available in all 50 states. During the 1990s, Coors becomes the nation’s third-largest brewer and enjoys the fastest volume growth rate in the industry.

1994

Red Dog and Ice House from the Plank Road Brewery are introduced nationally.

1995

Coors launches Blue Moon Belgian White, a refreshing Belgian-style wheat ale.

1999

Miller becomes the first brewer to adopt the 70 percent advertising standard, meaning the company will only advertise in media for which 70 percent of the audience is 21 and older. The broader beer industry adopts the standard four years later. In 2011, the standard is changed to 71.6 percent based on census data.

2002

South African Breweries buys Miller Brewing Company to create SABMiller plc. It is the second largest brewer in the world, with volume of more than 130 million barrels, brewing interests and distribution agreements in 75 countries and hundreds of brands. This same year, Coors buys most of the assets of Bass Breweries in the United Kingdom, becoming one of the world’s top 10 breweries.

 

2005

Coors merges with Molson to create Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s fifth-largest brewery.

2008

SABMiller and Molson Coors enter a U.S. joint venture to create MillerCoors. With nearly 300 years of combined brewing heritage, a portfolio of industry-leading brands and the best team in beer, MillerCoors is well-positioned as a more competitive U.S. brewer.

2009

MillerCoors opens its new Chicago headquarters.

MGD64, a reformulated version of Miller Genuine Draft Light that contains only 64 calories, launches nationally.

2010

MillerCoors creates Tenth and Blake Beer Company to be a leader in the crafts and import segment through its great beers, great beer merchants and great partnerships strategy. Batch 19, a pre-Prohibition lager, goes into test markets.

 

2011

2011

Tom Long becomes CEO following Leo Kiely's retirement.

Tenth and Blake takes an equity stake in Terrapin Beer Company, a craft brewer based in Athens, Ga.

  • 1824-1880
  • 1883-1888
  • 1893-1906
  • 1913-1937
  • 1941-1970
  • 1975-1981
  • 1982-1989
  • 1991-2002
  • 2005-2010
  • 2011