William “Bill” Coors, the grandson of Adolph Coors and one-time chairman of the Adolph Coors Company died on Saturday. He was 102.
Bill began his colorful career with what was then a small brewing company in 1939. Twenty years later he was appointed to chairman of the board where he ran the company until 2000 and then stepped down to vice chairman before retiring in 2003. During his time at the helm, the brewery grew from a small regional brewer distributed only in the western half of the country to a one of the world’s largest beer manufacturers in the world.
“Our company stands on the shoulders of giants like Bill Coors,” Molson Coors president and CEO Mark Hunter said in statement. “His dedication, hard work and ingenuity, helped shape not only our company but the entire beer industry. We honor his memory by re-dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much – brewing the best tasting, highest quality beer to share with family and friends.”
One of the greatest beverage industry innovations of the century, which Bill Coors pushed into the beer market, was the introduction of recyclable aluminum cans for beer and soft drinks. Coors was the first brewery to take the aluminum can mainstream.
Bill’s tenure at Coors was at times marked by his controversial conservative viewpoints and anti-union stance. That led to well-publicized boycotts of Coors beer in the late 1970s by organized labor, civil rights groups and minorities which ultimately led to the company hiring more minority workers and investing in minority communities.
Coors is survived by his daughters, Margaret Coors Beresford and May Louise Coors, his son, Scott; and seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.