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The Pre-Prohibition History of Adolph Coors Company 1873-1933
By William Kostka

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Publisher: Adolph Coors Company, 1973.
Hard Cover, 106 pages, 7.25 x 9.25.
Item #1221

The Adolph Coors Company produced this high-quality hard cover book in 1973 to share its early history. It has a beautiful gold embossed front cover, with sepia-style pages inside. Includes dozens of great old photographs from the Coors archives, and a very well-written historical narrative. Many of the photos can't be found in other books about Coors, in particular a beautiful foldout panoramic photograph of the entire Coors Brewery premises as it appeared in 1916. What a fantastic piece of Coors memorabilia. And rare!

An excerpt from Chapter 2:

Adolph Coors was only 21 years old when he arrived in Denver. Orphaned at fifteen, Coors already had twelve years of experience in working for a living. Perhaps those early years of independence gave him the courage to leave his native land, seeking to better his way of life in a strange country, speaking a language unfamiliar to him.

He sought out the very frontiers of his adopted United States where he had enough confidence in his own ability to establish a brewery in the then remote town of Golden, Colorado. Adolph Coors' foresight, from the launching of this little brewery, established three policies that remain to this day as guideposts to the continuous growth and success of Adolph Coors Company, Inc. One was fair pay and fair treatment for the men who worked for him, a policy he himself had acquired as a working man in many varied jobs. Another was the devotion of long hours of hard work to improve the quality of his product. Finally, he was willing to forego personal luxury and pleasures, preferring to use what profits there were to expand and improve the plant and to insure that quantity production assured top quality, the primary goal of all his endeavors at the brewery.

Adolph Coors, the son of Joseph and Helena (Hein) Coors, was born at Barmen in Rhenish Prussia on Feb. 4, 1847. Barmen was in the hill country less than fifty miles north of the Rhine river. His parents undoubtedly were poor because he was apprenticed at thirteen to the book and stationery store of Andrea & Company in nearby Ruhrort from November, 1860 until June, 1862. Meantime he was being educated at Barmen and Dortmund, Westphalia, a larger town to which the Coors family had moved. Here his mother died on April 2, 1862. In July, young Adolph was apprenticed for a three year period at a brewery owned by Henry Wenker in Dortmund. For the privilege of learning the brewer's trade, Coors was charged a stipulated sum, so he arranged to pay that by working also as a bookkeeper. His father died on November 24th of that same year. Despite the loss of both parents, Coors completed his apprenticeship and continued to work as a paid worker at the Wenker Brewery until May, 1867. Then he followed his trade at breweries in Kassel, Berlin, and Uelzen. Early in 1868, he sailed for the United States.

"He concluded either he had to serve the king or leave the country." This curious sentence, appearing in a biography of Adolph Coors in an 1880 history of Colorado, apparently holds the key to Coors' decision to emigrate to the United States and also reveals an insight into his character. The German states, part of the Austro-German empire, after failing in the revolutions of 1848, triumphed over Austria in the war of 1866. William I, king of Prussia since 1861, was now on his way to become emperor of a united Germany. Rather than to support and fight for a royal family, their palaces, and entourages, Adolph Coors, like hundreds of thousands of other Europeans, sought freedom and independence in the United States. In the five years between 1866-1870, more than a half million Germans emigrated to the United States.

Coors sailed from Hamburg and made his way to Chicago, arriving there on May 30, 1868. Apparently he worked at any job he could find, including common labor. During the summer he worked as a brewer, in the fall and winter he worked with pick and shovel and as a fireman, probably of a steam engine in a plant or on a steam shovel.7 The following spring and summer he worked as an apprentice bricklayer and stone cutter. His star shone brighter when he became foreman of John Stenger's brewery on Aug. 11, 1869, in Naperville, Illinois, about 35 miles west of Chicago.

Adolph Coors resigned at Stenger's brewery on Jan. 22, 1872, and apparently again worked his way westward, possibly on one of several railroads under construction west of the Mississippi because he did not arrive in Denver until April. Always preferring to work at any job so that he could continue to earn money while studying the local business situation, Coors was a gardener in Denver for a month. On May 1, he purchased a partnership in the bottling firm of John Staderman and before the year ended bought and assumed control of the entire business.s An advertisement in Corbett, Hoye & Company's Directory of the City of L)enver 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 showed that Coors at that time lived on Curtis Street between IC and L (20th and 21st) Streets.

Less than two blocks from his business, Coors became acquainted with another business man to whom Coors probably sold some of his products. The man was Jacob Schueler, a confectioner on Larimer Street between 1st and 16th Streets. His store was a combination of candy store, bakery shop, and ice cream parlor, which among other items sold wines and soda water. Schueler had this business in 1866 and the 1873 Directory listed him as living above his store.

Schueler's biography indicates that, in addition to helping to finance Coors' new brewery in Golden, he was also an investor in other business ventures in Colorado. Unlike Coors, the record indicates that Schueler did not give up his businesses in Denver and did not live or spend much time in Golden, where Coors was to become an industrial and a civic and community leader.

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