Molson Coors Remembers Bill Coors

DENVER & MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP; TSX: TPX) is saddened to
announce that William (“Bill”) K. Coors, former chairman of the board of
Adolph Coors Company and one of the truly great beer industry leaders,
died peacefully at his home today at age 102.

Coors was born Aug. 11, 1916, the grandson of Adolph Coors Company
founder Adolph Coors. He started his career at the company in 1939.

During his more than 65 years with the company, he contributed heavily
to the company’s rise from a regional brewer, distributing in only a few
western states, to one of the world’s largest breweries. Under his
watch, Coors survived and prospered while hundreds of breweries went out
of business. “The fact that we survived and even grew over the years
when so many breweries went out of business was an accomplishment that
all Coors employees can be proud of,” he would say.

With the company’s triumphs and failures, Bill Coors learned to develop
and maintain a positive outlook on life. “I’ve taken my kicks,” Coors
said, “but I have had a fascinating life and I’ve been richly rewarded.”

President and CEO of Molson Coors, Mark Hunter, said, “Our company
stands on the shoulders of giants like Bill Coors. His dedication, hard
work and ingenuity, helped shape not only our company but the entire
beer industry. We honor his memory by rededicating ourselves to
continuing the work he loved so much – brewing the best tasting, highest
quality beer to share with family and friends. Cheers to you Uncle Bill!”

In 1959, at the start of his tenure as chairman, Coors succeeded in
revolutionizing the entire beverage industry with the creation and
development of the aluminum can. He faced significant resistance from
companies unwilling to change and even from the aluminum industry
itself, but he stuck with his idea and changed an entire industry.

Coors also was a pioneer in the world of corporate wellness. Through his
foresight and leadership, the company started one of the first employee
wellness centers in the country and it still exists today.

Coors attended primary school in Golden, Colo., and spent four years at
Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., before entering Princeton
University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering
in 1938 and a graduate degree in 1939.

Bill Coors was involved with numerous civic, educational and business
organizations over the years, including: Boys and Girls Club of Denver
Foundation, board of trustees; Colorado Symphony Orchestra, board of
trustees; Colorado Outward Bound School, founding/lifetime trustee;
Colorado Health Care Purchasing Alliance, board member; Colorado
Business Coalition for Health, board chairman; Colorado School of Mines
Foundation, board member; Denver University, board of trustees, and
Colorado University President’s Leadership Class, lifetime trustee.

Bill Coors’ efforts and strong commitment to improving the quality of
life around him earned him numerous awards, including Citizen of the
West in 1992; the Patriots Award presented by the Congressional Medal of
Honor Society; the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award and the
Daniel Ritchie Award.

Bill is survived by his children Margaret Coors Beresford and her
husband Michael, May Louise Coors and her husband Sharad Atre and
Williams Scott Coors and his partner David Hurt, 7 grandchildren and 4
great-grandchildren, and a great number of nieces, nephews, great-nieces
and great-nephews. He is pre-deceased by his parents Adolph and
May Coors Jr., his brothers Adolph Coors III, Joseph Coors, Sr., and his
sister May Louise Tooker. Pursuant to his directive no formal memorial
ceremonies will be held. In lieu of flowers or other sentiments, the
family welcomes you to contribute to the William K. Coors Memorial Fund
hosted by the Denver Foundation.

Bill Coors. Father. Son. Uncle. Legend.

Bill Coors was born on August 11, 1916, the second son of Adolph Coors
Jr. and May Coors. He grew up in a bungalow tucked behind the Adolph
Coors Brewery with his two brothers, Adolph III and Joseph, and his
sister May. The brewery grounds became their playground, where they shot
home movies, rowed a canoe along the creek and made model airplanes out
of wood in the company machine shop. At the age of six, Bill began piano
lessons. His passion for playing continued throughout his entire life,
and one of his most treasured possessions is his Bösendorfer piano. When
Bill was asked to play the piano for the Founder’s Day celebration at
the University of Denver in 1998, he had his own piano moved to the
venue. When he finished playing, Bill, at the age of 81, received a
standing ovation from the audience of 800 guests.

At the age of thirteen, Bill went to school at Exeter, where he joined
crew, an activity he continued when he went to Princeton to obtain his
graduate degree in Chemical Engineering. His lifelong pursuit of health
and wellness has its roots in his youthful days rowing. Over the years,
Bill struggled with and overcame tragedy, health issues and stress and
he was passionate about sharing what he learned with others. Bill had a
vision of wellness and recognized that stress in the workplace destroyed
good workers. The Bill Coors Wellness Center, established in 1981, has
won awards, honors and recognition as one of the first and most
comprehensive industry based primary and secondary health promotion
programs in the country. Bill has written and spoken extensively on the
benefits of wellness and set a high standard for himself. In 1974, at
the age of 58, Bill Coors reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro – at the
time, he was the oldest person to achieve that feat. The film “Bill
Coors: The Will to Live” by Kerry David, released in 2018, documents
Bill’s journey of personal wellness.

After Bill graduated from Princeton University in 1939, he returned home
to Golden, Colorado to work for his father. Bill’s first marriage to
Geraldine Jackson, was blessed with 4 children, 3 girls: Missy, Margaret
(Maggie) and May, and a boy: William Kistler Jr. (Billy). Billy and
Missy tragically passed away before their father. His second marriage
with Phyliss Mahaffey was blessed with another son, Scott. Later in life
he married Rita Bass, who predeceased him in 2015. Bill’s first job back
in Golden after graduation was working for Coors Porcelain Company,
which has evolved into today’s CoorsTek. Bill spent seven years at “the
Pottery.” During his tenure he set up and launched the company’s first
isostatic insulator line from the tools and equipment sold to Coors
Porcelain from Champion Spark Plug Company. Bill remembers this time
fondly, as for the first time in his life, he was totally in charge of a
project; from the installation of the equipment to the operation the
entire production line from start to finish. The quality and performance
of the insulators produced at Coors Porcelain were unmatched and, during
WWII, these insulators were used at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in
calutrons – which used the electromagnetic separation method to separate
uranium isotopes. Many of these calutrons, with Bill’s insulators
inside, were later used to produce over 200 stable isotopes used for
cancer treatment, medical diagnostics, nonproliferation, and other
applications. On December 2, 2016, U.S. Department of Energy Office of
Legacy Management, presented Bill with the Energy Secretary’s
Appreciation Award in Golden, Colorado. The award recognized his
historic role in providing critical insulators to the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers Manhattan Engineer District (also known as the Manhattan
Project) during World War II. In 1946, Joe Coors Sr. took over
leadership at Coors Porcelain and led the company to become a leading
technical ceramics company, while Bill transitioned to the brewery to
assist his father and become a legend in the industry.

Bill Coors spent over 70 years driving change and shaping the path of
the Coors Brewery through his passion for innovation. The development of
the recyclable aluminum can for beer is perhaps one of his proudest and
most well-known accomplishments. The idea of an aluminum can captured
Bill’s interest for two primary reasons – aluminum cans could be
recycled and they didn’t have a welded seam making them easy to
sterilize. This gave new life to Bill’s innovative idea of sterile
filling and refrigerated marketing for beer. Together, with Coors
Porcelain Company, a task force was created to make the dream a reality
and in 1959, Coors introduced the first recyclable, sterile filled can
on the market and revolutionized the entire beverage industry. Bill
often said of that time: “Would the aluminum can have ever arrived
without me? Of course, its advent was inevitable. All I did was hurry it
along.” The release of the can in turn led to one of the most successful
recycling programs in the country – Cash for Cans. Bill received many
awards for these accomplishments; among them was the Modern Metals Man
of the Year for the pioneering of the aluminum can in 1959 and the Alcoa
Man of the Year for Aluminum Can Recycling in 1975.

Bill is known for his famous quote, “Barley is to beer as grapes are to
wine,” and the barley program at Coors is reflective of his passion for
quality barley. In 1949, Bill and his brother Joe purchased land in the
San Luis Valley in Colorado to start their experimental barley farm and
launched the quest to develop the finest brewing barley in the world and
the close association with barley growers themselves. For years Bill
participated in Barley Field Days events celebrating growers because he
felt strongly that his relationship with the growers was special. In
2016, in recognition for his years of commitment to the Coors barley
program and the people who grow the barley used in Coors beer, the
Golden Malting group named their newest variety of barley the Bill Coors
100, just in time for Bill’s 100th birthday.

In his years working for Adolph Coors Brewing Company, Bill saw it grow
from a small regional brewery that was distributed in only 12 states and
producing 145,000 barrels of beer to a company that distributes
worldwide and produces over 45 million barrels of beer. This growth is
due in no small part to the efforts of Bill, his brother Joe, and his
five nephews; Joe Jr., Jeff, Pete, Grover and John. In 2017, Bill
received the Jeff Becker Beer Industry Service Award for a lifetime of
dedication to the beer industry.

During his years at the helm of Adolph Coors Company, Bill also
demonstrated his commitment to employees with a philosophy of sharing.
He believed in a family of employees. “We don’t believe in walls,” he
said. “We don’t believe in a ‘you’ and a ‘we’. We believe in us. We
believe in being friends. We’re in this damn thing together. I am just
one of 6,000 people here and I do 1/6,000 of the work, maybe less.”

One of the more interesting aspects of Bill’s many jobs at the brewery
is that of being an official beer taste tester. Bill continued to taste
test Coors beer until his 100th birthday – and he was so good
at his job he could tell where the beer had been brewed!

Bill Coors. Father. Son. Uncle. Legend.


Molson Coors
Colin Wheeler, 303-927-2443


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