Adolph Coors emigrated from Germany in the late 1860s. He
had been trained as a brewer and followed that trade in his
adopted country, working in a brewery in Illinois before
moving to Colorado. In 1873, he opened his own brewery in
Golden. An advertisement from the time described Coors as a
dealer in “bottled beer, ale, porter, cider.”
The brewery grew until 1916, when Prohibition came to
Colorado, and alcoholic beverages became illegal. At that
point, Coors shifted production to malted milk and near
beer. They also established a porcelain plant.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and Coors was ready. A line
of delivery trucks emerged from the brewery a minute after
midnight on the date that sales became legal.
By the mid-1950s, Coors was producing more than one million
barrels of beer each year. By the 1970s production exceeded
seven million. Annual production exceeded nineteen million
barrels by the 1990s.
For many years, Coors was available only west of the
Mississippi River, and this created a strong mystique to the
brand. Tourists often returned to their homes in the east
with trunks full of Coors beer. In 1981, the company began
selling beer east of the Mississippi.
For the first century of its existence, Coors was a
family-owned company, managed by Adolph Coors’ descendents.
In 1975, the company became publicly traded, but the Coors
family remains strongly involved in managing the business.
Over the past decade, Coors has combined forces with several
other grand old breweries, to improve the marketing and
distribution reach of all.
In 2002, Coors acquired Bass Brewers in the UK. In 2005,
Coors merged with Canada’s Molson brewery, to form Molson
Coors, which became the fifth largest brewing company in the
world. In 2008, Molson Coors formed a joint venture with
SABMiller plc. MillerCoors is the second largest beer
company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of U.S. beer
Built on a foundation of great beer brands and more than 288
years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the
commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality
beers, including Miller Lite, Coors Light, MGD 64, Coors
Banquet, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, and
The company also imports Peroni, Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell
and Molson Canadian and offers innovative products such as
Miller Chill and Sparks.
MillerCoors features craft brews from the Jacob Leinenkugel
Company, Blue Moon Brewing Company and the Blitz-Weinhard
MillerCoors operates eight major breweries in the U.S., as
well as the Leinenkugel’s craft brewery in Chippewa Falls,
Wis., and two microbreweries, the Leinenkugel’s 10th Street
Brewery in Milwaukee and the Blue Moon Brewing Company at
Coors Field in Denver.
For more information about the company, visit
A Woman’s Life in Golden, Eileen Wagonbach Allen,
published by the Golden History Museums, Golden, Colorado,
1980, reissued in 2010.