Joseph Coors

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Joseph Coors
Born (1917-11-12)November 12, 1917
Golden, Colorado
Died March 15, 2003(2003-03-15) (aged 85)
Rancho Mirage, California
Cause of death Lymphoma
Resting place El Camino Memorial Park, Sorrento Valley, San Diego, California[1]
Employer Coors Brewing Company

Joseph "Joe" Coors, Sr. (November 12, 1917 – March 15, 2003), was the grandson of brewer Adolph Coors and president of Coors Brewing Company.[2][3]

Birth and education[edit]

Coors was born in 1917 to Alice May Kistler (1885-1970) and Adolph Coors II. His siblings include Adolph Coors III and William Coors. He graduated from Cornell University in 1939 with a degree in chemical engineering, staying to earn a master's degree in 1940. His brother Adolph Coors III and cousin Dallas Morse Coors were his classmates, and all three were members of Kappa Alpha Society and Quill and Dagger society.


He married Edith Holland "Holly" Hanson (Holly Coors) in 1941 and had five sons, Jeffrey, Joseph Jr., Grover, John and Peter Coors.[4] He divorced Hanson in 1987 and was remarried to Anne Elizabeth Drotning a year later in 1988.

Brewing career[edit]

After graduation, he began work in the Coors Porcelain Co.; the porcelain business helped support the company during Prohibition. With his brother, William Coors, Joseph refined the cold-filtered beer manufacturing system and began America's first large-scale recycling program by offering 1-cent returns on Coors aluminum cans. He served one term as a regent of the University of Colorado, attempting to quell what he considered to be campus radicalism during the Vietnam war. He served as president of Coors from 1977 to 1985 and chief operating officer from 1980 to 1988. His leadership helped expand Coors beer distribution from western states to the entire USA.


Coors was perhaps best known for his conservative politics. A founding member of the Heritage Foundation along with Paul Weyrich and Edwin Feulner, Coors provided $250,000 to the think tank to cover its first year budget. He was also involved with the founding of the Free Congress Foundation and the Council for National Policy. He was a member of Ronald Reagan's Kitchen Cabinet, helping finance Reagan's political career as governor of California and U.S. president.[2] Coors was also known to have privately donated $65,000 to buy a light cargo plane for the Contras' effort in Nicaragua during Reagan's presidency. That donation went through National Security Council adviser Oliver North.[5]


Coors died in Rancho Mirage, California, after a three-month battle with lymphatic cancer.[2]


  1. ^ Joseph M. "Joe" Coors, Sr at Find a Grave
  2. ^ a b c "Brewery magnate Joseph Coors dies at 85". Associated Press. March 17, 2003. Joseph Coors, who used his brewing fortune to support President Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, has died at age 85. Coors, whose grandfather founded Adolph Coors Co. in 1873, died Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a three-month battle with lymphatic cancer. 
  3. ^ Bernstein, Adam (March 18, 2003). "Joseph Coors Sr., 85, Dies; Heir to Brewing Company". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Joseph Coors Sr., 85, a magnate of the storied brewing company who used his fortune to underwrite conservative causes, including Ronald Reagan's political career and the Heritage Foundation, a public policy research organization, died March 15 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. He had lymphatic cancer. Mr. Coors's grandfather, a German immigrant, founded the Golden, Colorado based, Adolph Coors ...  line feed character in |quote= at position 400 (help)
  4. ^ "Joseph Coors, Sr.". NNDB. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  5. ^ Blanchard, William H. Neocolonialism American Style, 1960-2000. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood P, 1996.