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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Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and Coors was ready.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 sales.

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 Keystone Light.

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 Brewing Company.

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

Sources:  (04/02/2011)

A Woman’s Life in Golden, Eileen Wagonbach Allen, published by the Golden History Museums, Golden, Colorado, 1980, reissued in 2010.

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