Adolph Coors

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Adolph Coors
Adolph Hermann Josef Kuhrs (or some variant thereof)

February 4, 1847
DiedJune 5, 1929(1929-06-05) (aged 82)
Resting placeCrown Hill Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
39°45′34″N 105°05′23″W / 39.7595°N 105.0898°W / 39.7595; -105.0898
Parent(s)Joseph Kuhrs (c. 1820–1862)
Helena Hein (c. 1820–1862)

Adolph Herman Joseph Coors Sr. (February 4, 1847 – June 5, 1929) was a German American brewer who founded the Adolph Coors Company in Golden, Colorado, in 1873.

Early years[edit]

Adolph Hermann Joseph Kuhrs was born in Barmen in Rhenish Prussia on February 4, 1847, the son of Joseph Kuhrs (c. 1820–1862) and Helena Heim (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 came to the United States as an undocumented stowaway.[1] He remained ashamed of that action for the rest of his life, and decreed that his family should never speak about it. It wasn't until his son's death in 1970 that the family openly discussed the fact that the family patriarch had been a stowaway.[2] 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 moved to Denver, arriving in April. He worked in Denver as a gardener for a month, and 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.[3]

Golden Brewery[edit]

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.[4] When Prohibition began 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[edit]

Immediate family[edit]

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 known by her nickname of Gussie. The fifth born 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, was born 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 his father was the nation's transportation adviser. Herbert Collbran held an important position with the government railways. It is possible that the international shipping of Coors beer, beginning in Korea in 1908, was related to the family's presence there.

Adolph Jr., Grover and Herman all graduated from Cornell University, and returned to Denver to take positions in the family operations. Adolph Jr. was married to Alice May Kistler at the Kistler home, and the family lived in Denver. Grover married Gertrude at the Coors Mansion. Bertha, who became an accomplished equestrienne and safari hunter, married Harold S. Munroe on January 8, 1911, at the Coors Mansion. They moved to Mexico where Harold worked in gold mining operations. Herman Coors married Doreathea Clara Morse on May 25, 1916, in Tompkins, New York. {Two Hermans?} Herman Coors married Janet Ferrin and remained in Golden, working in the family porcelain factory. In 1926, he moved to Inglewood, California, where he established the H.F. Coors China Company.


Adolph Coors is known to have had at least two siblings, a sister and a 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.


On June 5, 1929, Adolph Coors fell or allegedly committed suicide by leaping from the sixth-floor window of the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coors Brewery Tours in Golden Co MillerCoors". Archived from the original on 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  2. ^ Dan Baum, Citizen Coors, Perennial, 2000, p. 5 ISBN 0-688-15448-4.
  3. ^ An advertisement in Corbett, Hoye & Company's Directory of the City of Denver (1873) on p. 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.
  4. ^ Garrett Oliver (2011). The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-19-536713-3.
  5. ^ Rich Griset, "Strange Brew", Coastal Virginia Magazine, January 2015
  6. ^ "Brewing Beer and Problems". The 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.

Further reading[edit]

  • Banham, Russ. Coors: A Rocky Mountain Legend (1998).
  • Baron, Stanley. Brewed in America
  • Baum, Dan. Citizen Coors: A Grand Family Saga of Business, Politics, and Beer (2001).
  • Bellant, Russ. Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism (1990).
  • Dansky, Eli. "Coors, Adolph" American National Biography (2003) online
  • Downard, William L. Dictionary of the History of the American Brewing and Distilling Industries (1980).
  • Kostka, William. The Pre-Prohibition History of Adolph Coors Company 1873–1933 (1973)