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|Born||Adolph Hermann Josef Kuhrs (or some variant thereof)
February 4, 1847
Barmen, Rhenish Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia
|Died||June 5, 1929
Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
Cause of death
|Parents||Joseph Kuhrs (c1820-1862)
Helena Hein (c1820-1862)
Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, Sr. (born Adolph Hermann Josef Kuhrs or some variant thereof) (February 4, 1847 – June 5, 1929) was a German American brewer who founded the Adolph Coors Company in Golden, Colorado in 1873.
Adolph Kuhrs was born in Barmen in Rhenish Prussia on February 4, 1847, the son of Joseph Kuhrs (c.1820–1862) and Helena Hein (c.1820–1862). He was apprenticed at age thirteen to the book and stationery store of Andrea & Company in nearby Ruhrort from November 1860 until June 1862. His mother died on April 2, 1862. The Kuhrs family moved to Dortmund, Westphalia. In July 1862, Adolph was apprenticed for a three-year period at a brewery owned by Henry Wenker in Dortmund. He was charged a fee for his apprenticeship, so he worked as a bookkeeper to pay for it. His father died on November 24, 1862. Orphaned, Adolph completed his apprenticeship and continued to work as a paid employee at the Wenker Brewery until May 1867. He then worked at breweries in Kassel, Berlin, and Uelzen in Germany.
Early in 1868, he immigrated to the United States. He sailed from Hamburg to New York City and then moved to Chicago arriving on May 30, 1868. His name was changed from "Kuhrs" to "Coors". He worked in the spring as a laborer, and during the summer he worked as a brewer. In the fall and winter he worked as a fireman, loading coal into the firebox of a steam engine. In the spring and summer of 1869 he worked as an apprentice bricklayer and a stone cutter. He became foreman of John Stenger's brewery on August 11, 1869, in Naperville, Illinois, about 35 miles west of Chicago. He resigned from Stenger's brewery on January 22, 1872, and arrived in Denver in April. He worked in Denver as a gardener for a month, then on May 1, 1872 he purchased a partnership in the bottling firm of John Staderman. In the same year he bought and assumed control of the entire business.[not specific enough to verify]
On November 14, 1873, Coors and the Denver confectioner Jacob Schueler purchased the abandoned Golden City Tannery and converted it to the Golden Brewery. By February 1874 they were producing beer for sale. In 1880 Coors purchased Schueler's interest, and the brewery was renamed Adolph Coors Golden Brewery. When Prohibition was begun in Colorado in 1916, he converted his brewery to make malted milk. The company also manufactured porcelain and ceramic products made from clay mined in Golden. The Coors Porcelain division has since split off, and is now known as CoorsTek.
Marriage and family
On April 12, 1879 Adolph Coors married Louisa Webber, the daughter of the superintendent of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad maintenance shops. They were married at the Coors home on the brewery grounds. Adolph and Louisa raised three sons and three daughters to adulthood, with two children dying in infancy. Louise was born on March 2, 1880, and was nicknamed Lulu among her many friends. Their second child was Augusta, born in 1881, and was known by her nickname of Gussie. The fifth and third surviving child was Adolph Coors Jr., on January 12, 1884. Bertha Coors was born on June 24, 1886, and Grover C. Coors was born in 1888. The last addition to the family, Herman Frederick Coors, came on July 24, 1890, while the family was on vacation in Berlin.
All of the daughters attended the Wolcott School for Girls in Denver. Louise married Henry F. Kugeler at the Coors Mansion, and Augusta married Herbert E. Collbran there on October 5, 1905. At the time, Transcript editor George West wrote "Miss Coors is a native Golden girl and proud of it. She is pretty and talented, and by her universally pleasant and courteous demeanor has endeared herself to all the people of her native town." She and her husband moved to Korea, where Herbert was the son of the nation's transportation advisor and held an important position with the governmental railways. It is possible that with the advent of international shipping of Coors beer, which began in Korea in 1908, was directly related to the family's presence there. Adolph Jr., Grover and Herman all graduated from Cornell University, and returned to take positions helping run the family operations. Adolph Jr. was married to Alice May Kistler at the Kistler home, and the family lived in Denver. Grover and Gertrude Coors were married at the Coors Mansion. Bertha, who became an accomplished equestrienne and safari hunter, was married to Harold S. Munroe on January 8, 1911 at the Coors Mansion. The couple moved to Mexico where Harold worked in gold mining operations. Herman Coors married Doreathea Clara Morse on May 25, 1916 in Tompkins, New York, United States. Herman Coors married Janet Ferrin and stayed in Golden, and worked in the family's porcelain manufacturing operations. In 1926 he moved to Inglewood, California where he set up his own porcelain plant, the Coors Company.
Adolph Coors is known to have had at least two siblings, a sister and younger brother, William Kuhrs, who was born in Dortmund, Germany in 1849. William followed his brother to America in 1870 and took the same respelling of the family name. He made his way to Chicago where he made a good living as a cabinet maker, and arrived in Golden by the mid-1870s. He took a good position of employment at his brother's brewery, in which employ he remained for the rest of his life. Following further in his brother's footsteps, William married Louisa's sister Mary in 1881, and ten years later moved to Denver where he had charge of the Coors interests in that city. The couple had three daughters, two of whom were Mattie and Helena. William Coors died on December 30, 1923 and is buried at the Golden Cemetery. Upon his death the Colorado Transcript described him as "a genial, accommodating man, and had many friends in Golden, Denver and elsewhere." His oldest daughter married William J. Gilbert and the second married Charles Nitschke.
Death by suicide
- An advertisement in Corbett, Hoye & Company's Directory of the City of Denver for 1873 on page 242 showed Adolph Coors as a dealer in "bottled beer, ale, porter and cider, imported and domestic wines, and seltzer water." His place of business was located in the Tappan Block on Holladay (now Market) Street between E and F Streets (now 14th and 15th). The same directory shows that Coors lived on Curtis Street between IC and L (20th and 21st) Streets.
- Garrett Oliver (9 September 2011). The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-19-536713-3.
- "Brewing Beer and Problems". New York Times. July 7, 2000. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
In "Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty" (William Morrow, $27), Dan Baum wisely singles the family out. Mr. Baum builds a strong narrative from the tale of how this big dysfunctional family made a lot of cold beer and money that ultimately financed conservative causes via the Republican Party and the Heritage Foundation. There is no lack of drama, starting with the patriarch Adolph Coors, who committed suicide by jumping out of a hotel window.