February 6, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Adolph Coors

Adolph Coors, born in 1847 to poor working parents, was charting his future as an apprentice brewer when the Prussian War tore apart his homeland. Rather than serve King William I he stowed away on a ship bound for America in 1868. Caught in mid-journey Coors was permitted to work off the cost of the journey in Baltimore. He labored as a brick layer, stone-cutter and fireman for a year before making his way west to Naperville, Illinois, hiring on as a brewery foreman for the Stenger Brewery.

He saved his money and worked his way to Denver on the railroad in April of 1872. While surveying the economic climate he toiled through the summer as a gardener and then purchased a partnership in the bottling company of John Straderman. By the end of 1872 he was the sole owner bottling beer, ale, porter, cider and seltzer water.

Still, his dreams were in brewing a quality beer. On Sundays, his only day off, he walked through the town of Golden, to which he was attracted by the rich Clear Creek Valley with abundant clear cool streams, formulating his brewing plans. He discovered an abandoned tannery on the banks of the river - the ideal site for his brewery with many clear springs on the property. Coors knew that water is the most basic ingredient in beer.

One of his customers, Jacob Schueler, raised $18,000 to invest in the "Golden Brewery" in 1873. In less than a year the tannery turned brewery was returning a profit. By 1880 Coors was brewing enough premium beer to buy out Schueler.

Now Coors concentrated on solidifying his business. He traveled widely, studying the competition. Coors maintained an overwhelming concern for the high quality of his beer, constantly expanding the brewery and improving the product. By 1900 the Golden Brewery had survived a national Depression, devastating flood and the growing threat of Prohibition.

Prohibition hit Colorado in 1914. Coors dumped 17,000 gallons of beer into Clear Creek. The brewing equipment turned out several food products including a near-beer called Mannah. Malted milk became a sideline business which lasted until 1955. Coors shifted much of the factory to the production of cement and high-quality porcelain products.

Adolph Coors did not live to see the end of Prohibition, dying in 1929 but the business foundation he laid allowed the Adolph Coors Company to survive. Of the 1568 breweries operating in 1910 Coors was one of only 750 to re-open in 1933.

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