Frederick J. Miller born into a middle class family in Reidlingen, in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, which is a part of present day Germany. The youngest of five children, he begins his apprenticeships in brewing in adolescence and by 1849 is brewmaster to a prince in Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern (pictured).
Jacob Leinenkugel born in Meckenheim, in present-day Germany. Three years later, he immigrates to the United States with his parents and two brothers to Wisconsin. There they find rich soil perfect for growing hops and grains, and markets thirsty for beer.
Adolph Coors Sr. born in the city of Barmen, in western Prussia, which is part of the city of Wuppertal, in present day Germany. At the age of 21, in 1868, Adolph immigrates to the United States and first arrives in Baltimore.
After immigrating to the United States in 1854, Frederick Miller settles in Milwaukee. There he leases and later purchases the suburban 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 produces his first barrels of American beer in the fall of that year.
Jacob Leinenkugel and business partner, John Miller, open the Spring Brewery in Chippewa Falls. During the early years Jacob and John are the brewery's only employees. Jacob brews the beer and John delivers it using a small cart and a horse named Kate.
Adolph Sr. buys out Jacob Schueler to become sole owner of the brewery they founded. Production is 3,500 barrels a year – but just 10 years later, Coors makes 17,600 barrels annually and the company is on firm financial ground.
Miller begins bottling in his own facility, and by 1887 is delivering the bottles around town with a “bottle beer wagon.” Previously, Miller’s Bavarian beer was first bottled by a third-party Milwaukee entrepreneur.
In May of this year, Adolph Sr. builds a new three-story cleaning house for kegs and a new shop for building barrels on site. He purchases a corking machine and bottle washer which is installed in the bottling plant. This same year is when the famous Castle Rock logo is adapted onto the company’s letterhead.
Coors launches its first recycling effort – 45 cents for a dozen empty quart bottles. On December 2 of this year, Adolph Sr. builds a 63-by-35-foot brick addition to store beer. The first floor is for the beer, kept cool by ice on the second floor. Sawdust on the third floor kept the ice from melting.
Miller pasteurizes its beer for the first time, using the new science developed by Louis Pasteur.
Many customers are traveling to the Coors Brewery to buy beer. Adolph Sr. appoints Julius Schultz of Golden as the first retail sales agent. Schultz advertises Coors beer and sells the beer directly from his store in Golden. This marks the first time Coors beer is sold directly from a store and not the brewery.
Adolph Sr. forms the company Colorado Glass Works principally to make bottles for the brewery. By the fall of this year Adolph Sr. is elected the president and treasurer of the company, with the result of production doubling and the work force expanding from 60 to 70 men.
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.
Founder Frederick Miller dies having lived a life full of success and tragedy (his first wife and seven of his children died during his lifetime). His second wife and surviving children continue his brewing and philanthropic legacies. He leaves money to Milwaukee’s Marquette University and various Milwaukee charities.
Coors beer, made exclusively from Colorado barley, wins a national brewing competition at the Chicago World’s Fair. Coors is also one of only 19 American breweries to win an award and the only one west of the Missouri. Coors received the award based on brilliancy, flavor, chemical analysis, and commercial flavor for its Extra Golden Stout porter.
Adolph Sr. receives a loan from Denver banks of $90,000 to expand the brewery. On Memorial Day a flash flood in Clear Creek nearly washed the building away as it was being constructed. Coors is forced into borrowing another $90,000 from the Denver banks and immediately started working on rebuilding the brewery and working on diverting Clear Creek away from the brewery buildings and the Coors family mansion.
Adolph Sr. adds a seven-story addition, dubbed a “skyscraper” in Golden. Adolph Sr. anticipates this expansion will help with the demands of the fast-growing business in the new century.
Miller High Life is introduced on Dec. 30 of this year. The beer is packaged in clear, tapered “champagne-style” bottles. The brew is a hit and inspires Miller to invest in additional bottling facilities.
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.
The Girl in the Moon appears for the first time on a decorative plate, and the public is introduced to one of America’s longest lasting and most iconic advertising images. According to legend, Miller’s advertising manager, A. C. Paul, became lost in woods hunting in northern Wisconsin and had a vision of a girl sitting on a moon guiding him home, and was inspired to place the Miller High Life Girl in a crescent moon for his next advertisement.
Adolph Sr. becomes president of the Herold China and Pottery Co. – renamed Coors Porcelain Co. in 1920. The company tapped into clay deposits around Golden, Colo., to make tea sets, creamers, sugar bowls, cookware and even spark plugs. Soon after, it was making porcelain and ceramics for laboratories.
Grover Coors, brother of Adolph Coors Sr., develops Mannah, the first cereal beer. This same year Grover begins to work on the production of malted milk.
Adolph Coors Sr. dies in Virginia Beach, Va.
Prohibition hits Colorado in 1916, then the nation in 1919. Miller and Coors survive by brewing soda, near-beer, and malt syrups for a small profit and through outside investments and industries. For Coors, that includes the Coors Porcelain Co. and a partnership with the Mars Candy Co. to provide malted milk. Miller survives thanks to the family’s personal wealth and investments in real estate, loans, and government securities. But most breweries aren't so fortunate. More than half of the nation's breweries don’t reopen when Prohibition ends in 1933.
Coors adopts the slogan, “Brewed With Pure Rocky Mountain Water.” The slogan serves the company admirably for the next 50 years. Three years later, Coors adopts the slogan, “America’s Fine Light Beer” for its Banquet beer.
Coors produces the first Coors Light, but ceased production due to the start of World War II. This beer has the slogan "Coors Fine Light Beer" and was brewed with 13 calories.
World War II creates shortages of beer-making materials, and 15% of breweries’ production is provided to the armed forces. Coors and Miller, like during Prohibition less than a decade earlier, once again rely on ingenuity, judicious use of brewing resources, and careful financial management to survive. Miller cuts production, drops all brands but High Life, and pulls out of 17 states rather than compromise quality. Coors also refused to water down its beer and as a result saw lower profits during the war, as sales hovered 150,000 barrels.
Miller tops one million barrels of production annually. This production is realized through the leadership of Frederick C. Miller, grandson of the founder of Miller Brewing Company, and large investments in modernizing the brewery’s equipment and infrastructure post World War II.
Frederick C. Miller, company president at the time, dies in a plane crash on Dec. 17. He led Miller’s significant post-war growth, introduced the company to the value of sports marketing, and invested significantly in Miller’s consumer tour programs, among other accomplishments.
Coors tops one million barrels of production annually.
Miller celebrates its 100th anniversary with an extravagant three-day event including a screening of an original feature film telling the story of Miller Brewing Company entitled “With This Ring,” a formal banquet at Milwaukee’s Eagles Club Ballroom, musical performances, a brewery open house, and the staging of an original musical theater production titled “100 Years in America.”
Bill Coors introduced its first all-aluminum two-piece beer can in 1959. The first cans are tested in Denver and are seven ounces with a weight 40 percent less than steel cans. These cans contribute to a sales growth of 20 percent in the Denver test market. The company also launches an American recycling revolution by offering a penny for every can returned to the brewery.
Miller purchases Milwaukee’s A. Gettelman Brewing Co., including its Milwaukee’s Best brand.
Adolph Coors Jr. dies at the age of 86.
Miller family ownership ends, as Philip Morris Companies Inc. buys Miller Brewing Company and selects John Murphy, a lawyer by profession, to be president. Murphy introduces contemporary advertising techniques to Miller, including the concept of “Miller Time.”
Coors celebrates its 100th anniversary. Coors Porcelain Company celebrates this occasion with commemorative ceramic pieces, including steins.
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. The All Stars campaign fuels growth behind its use of celebrities, former athletes and its “tastes great … less filling” slogan.
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.
Coors introduces the Coors Light brand, with the slogan "Something no other light beer has - the taste of Coors.” This is the first time Coors brewed more than one beer at a time in company history.
George Killian’s Irish Red, 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.
High Life’s “Miller Time” ad campaign invites new drinkers with the popular slogan “Welcome to Miller Time.”
The Coors Light “Silver Bullet” slogan begins. Bill Coors got the idea from his daughter Maggie.
Miller re-introduces Milwaukee’s Best (the former Gettelman brand) as an affordable economy beer.
Miller continues to innovate with the launch of Miller Genuine Draft, the original cold-filtered packaged draft beer. Instead of being pasteurized with heat like other bottle beers, the beer is cold-filtered through ceramic cylinders and packaged, preserving the beer’s cold freshness.
Miller buys the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, enabling the family brewery out of Chippewa Falls, Wis., to grow and expand into a national brand. Leinie’s continues to successfully operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and is now is in its sixth generation of family involvement.
Coors introduces the Keystone franchise, including Keystone and Keystone Light, to great consumer response.
Coors finally becomes available in all 50 states, with Indiana being the last state to have Coors beer. During the 1990s, Coors becomes the nation’s third-largest brewer and enjoys the fastest volume growth rate in the industry.
Coors launches Blue Moon, a refreshing Belgian-style wheat ale. The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field in Denver is the first brewery in a Major League Baseball stadium. The very first beer is the Bellyslide Wit, later known as Belgian White, is a very popular beer with the fans at the stadium.
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.
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.
Coors merges with Molson to create Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s fifth-largest brewery, led by Coors Light, Coors Banquet and Molson Canadian.
Miller celebrates its 150th anniversary with yearlong events, “the Big Brew-Ha” celebration concert at Miller Park featuring the Goo Goo Dolls and Bon Jovi, and the release of the limited-edition Miller’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Lager.
Leinenkugel’s introduces Summer Shandy, a lemonade-flavored beer, to the United States. It is now the nation’s largest craft seasonal and Leinenkugel’s largest brand.
SABMiller and Molson Coors enter a U.S. joint venture to create MillerCoors. With more than 450 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. Leo Kiely is named CEO.
MillerCoors opens its new Chicago headquarters.
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. It is focused on growing brands like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s and key imports Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell.
Coors Light surpasses Budweiser as the nation’s second-largest beer by volume.
Tenth and Blake takes an equity stake in Terrapin Beer Company, a craft beer based in Athens, GA
MillerCoors acquires Crispin Cider Company.
MillerCoors continues its innovation pipeline with national launch for Redd’s Apple Ale, a franchise that has since grown to include Strawberry, Green Apple, Redd’s Wicked Apple and Wicked Mango Ales.
MillerCoors brings back “original” packaging for Miller Lite, fueling a turnaround for the brand. Smith & Forge hard cider is launched.
Tenth and Blake acquires St. Archer Brewing Co., a San-Diego-based craft brewer founded in 2013. Blue Moon celebrates 20 years.
Molson Coors assumes 100 percent ownership of MillerCoors, creating its U.S. business unit. Tenth and Blake acquires three additional craft breweries: Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Ga.), Hop Valley Brewing Co. (Eugene, Ore.) and Revolver Brewing (Granbury, Texas).