Coors historian counts down 10 of her favorite artifacts from the brewery’s 150-year history

By Christine Ricciardi, Denver Post

Heidi Harris grew up close to Golden, Colorado, the place the Coors brewery was a fixture of the skyline. But she had by no means taken the favored tour of the historic brewing facility till about eight years in the past when she began working there.

In 2015, Harris joined Coors — now a part of the Molson Coors Beverage Co. — as its company archivist, tasked with sustaining the official report of the beer pioneer, which was based in 1873 by German immigrant Adolph Coors.

Today, her workplace is a 9,500-square-foot cell on the third flooring of Coors’ hop storage constructing in Golden. There, within the climate-controlled room, she’s surrounded by pictures, paperwork, ledgers and promotion supplies, a lot of which date again a century or extra.

“It’s not quite filled to the brim, but there’s a lot of stuff in there,” Harris stated.

On Saturday, Coors celebrates its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary. Ahead of that, Harris provided a deep dive into the archive with 10 artifacts that inform Coors’s story, from 1891 to 2021.

1891: Original beer label logos

Some of the oldest artifacts within the Coors archive present the beer enterprise at its starting. And even in 1891, the federal government required logos and patents for bottle labels to make sure they displayed all the required info. That additionally helped guarantee inventive facets like font and paintings weren’t being utilized by every other firm, Harris stated.

These logos are for Coors Golden Lager and Coors Pilsener. Harris particularly loves that Adolph Coors’ signature stays intact.

1893: Medals from the World’s Columbian Exposition

Coors entered the beer competitions on the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was the 1893 version of the world’s truthful in Chicago, and gained two medals – for a porter recipe and for a beer – and was the one beer maker west of Missouri to take action, Harris stated.

1916-1957: Coors milk tins

As the United States entered Prohibition, the Coors brewery pivoted to creating malted milk. Even although Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the corporate continued to supply malted milk till 1957. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

During Prohibition, Coors started producing malted milk, amongst different merchandise, because it was not authorized to brew beer. The enterprise proved so profitable – based on Harris, Hershey’s was amongst Coors’ many consumers – that the corporate continued to make malted milk till 1957 when demand for beer necessitated utilizing the manufacturing area.

Nineteen Forties: Sales and advertising and marketing supplies

Back earlier than advertising and marketing efforts have been measured in click-through charges, Coors salesmen would go door-to-door to bars with binders chock filled with supplies in regards to the brewery. These binders included maps finding Coors’ billboards, info in regards to the beer, and scripts for radio ads that will assist promote the beer to prospects. Coors additionally distributed neon indicators to its accounts. The one above, additionally from the Nineteen Forties, nonetheless lights up, Harris stated.

1959: Coors Banquet aluminum cans

Coors introduced its first aluminum can on Jan. 22, 1959. It was lauded as the first two-piece, all-aluminum can on the market and paved the way for the industry to pivot away from steel cans. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)
Coors launched its first aluminum can on Jan. 22, 1959. It was lauded as the primary two-piece, all-aluminum can in the marketplace and paved the best way for the trade to pivot away from metal cans. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

Beer in aluminum cans could also be commonplace at present, however in 1959 it was a novel idea. Then brewery chief Bill Coors pioneered the design for this Coors Banquet can and successfully paved the best way for the beer trade to shift to aluminum from metal. Steel cans have been beforehand three items – a physique with two separate ends – however Coors’ aluminum design was solely two items that included the physique and the highest.

Nineteen Eighties: A memorable mallet

The mallet that hammered the bung in the last aluminum keg of Coors beer. Unlike beer cans, companies reverted to using steel for beer kegs. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)
The mallet that hammered the bung within the final aluminum keg of Coors beer. Unlike beer cans, firms reverted to utilizing metal for beer kegs. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

Contrary to the evolution of beer cans, beer kegs have been traditionally made out of aluminum. The Nineteen Eighties noticed a transfer away from that materials to metal. This mallet hammered the stopper (often called a bung) on the final aluminum keg of Coors beer. According to Harris, Bill Coors tapped a retired worker who spent a long time engaged on the keg line to do the honors.

Nineteen Eighties: TriviaQuest bartop sport

Coors TriviaQuest bar top game entertained beer drinkers sitting at the bar throughout the 1980s. BeerWolf makes an appearance throughout the game. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)
Coors TriviaQuest bar prime sport entertained beer drinkers sitting on the bar all through the Nineteen Eighties. BeerWolf makes an look all through the sport. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

Bored on the bar? Not when sitting in entrance of Coors’ authentic online game, TriviaQuest. For 1 / 4, drinkers might check their data of popular culture. While TriviaQuest is not a bartop staple, this one within the archive nonetheless capabilities.

1982-1983: Mascots BeerWolf and Corby

In the 1980s, Coors adopted two new spokespeople: BeerWolf and Corby. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)
In the Nineteen Eighties, Coors adopted two new spokespeople: BeerWolf and Corby. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

Coors added some creativity to its promoting within the Nineteen Eighties with the addition of two new spokespeople. BeerWolf happened throughout a Halloween promotion, Harris stated, whereas Corby capitalized on the success of “Star Wars” and robots like R2D2. The latter boasted capabilities like transferring its arms to have the ability to serve beer trays and enjoying music through an embedded 8-track participant. Corby’s wrap can be a magnet, so it’s actually a strolling commercial.

1994: Coors Light Sun Cans

Coors started experimenting with its packaging with the discharge of Coors Light Sun Cans in 1994. When the cans have been uncovered to daylight, summery designs like sun shades and snorkels appeared in black. The cans have been a one-time promotion as a result of “who wants to drink hot beer?” Harris stated. But they paved the best way for Coors Light’s mountains that flip blue when the can is chilly.

2021: Hungry Beer Man dinner

In one of the more unusual promotions, Coors partnered with Hungry Man to create a frozen dinner meal deal that came with a cold Coors Light. The promo came out around the holiday season in 2021. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)
In one of many extra uncommon promotions, Coors partnered with Hungry Man to create a frozen dinner meal deal that got here with a chilly Coors Light. The promo got here out across the vacation season in 2021. (Provided by Coors Brewing Co.)

During the 2021 vacation season, Coors Light and Hungry Man paired up for a promotion: A frozen vacation feast that got here with a can of beer multi function field. Notice the warning to take away the beer earlier than inserting the meal within the freezer.