History of Coors Brewing Company
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.
Adolph Sr. opens the Golden Brewery in Golden, Colo., along Clear Creek. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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
Coors tops one million barrels of production annually.
Coors introduces the country’s first all-aluminum; two-piece beverage can on January 22. 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.
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.
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.
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.
.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.
Coors Light surpasses Budweiser as the nation’s second-largest beer by volume.