My Personal Interest: The Rise and Fall
After already sharing my thoughts of my family, and myself, I felt as though neither of my favorite personal interests would accomplish the task at hand. It was Saturday afternoon, and I still didnt have a good personal interest topic to write about. I started mind-mapping, writing every topic I could think of, including: The Real Civil War; Mental Instability Possession or Illness; Finding the Perfect Home Mortgage and All; and even The lightning Capital: Why Here? Then I realize I must dismantle the subject, so as to fit it on only 3 or 4 pages. The project is becoming a lot tougher than I anticipated; I start scratching out ideas. A half hour later, I have a page with many scribbles, no topics, confusion, and thirst. I walk swiftly and irritably, to the refrigerator, open the door, and grab a cold, wet, Coors Light, tall can. I found my personal interest topic. There in my hand, I was holding history: The Rise and Fall, Literally, of Adolph Coors.
I try to imagine the thoughts of Adolph Coors as he was plunging 6 stories to his death. How or why would he have fallen from a beautiful Virginia Beach hotel-room? In the past 9 years, the prohibition of 1920 had made life more difficult, but could Adolphs desires and ambition end this way? Throughout his entire life he showed nothing less than a strong driving force in everything he attempted and accomplished.
On February 4, 1847, Adolph was born in Barmen, Prussia. His parents passed away only 15 years later. Finding necessity for a quick occupation, Adolph started an apprenticeship at the Henry Wenker Brewery. The ambitious young man paid for his apprenticeship by working at the brewery as a bookkeeper.
He completed his apprenticeship in a short three years, 1 year less than expected. This would be young Adolphs first of many overachievements. After finishing his lessons, he worked at three other breweries in the area until 1868, when avoiding a military draft seemed necessary. He then left for the bright stars and stripes of America. Stowing away, he landed at Port Baltimore, Maryland. For the next 5 years, Adolph worked in several industries, ranging from gardening to his first love, brewing.
Mr. Coors was now 26 years old, and a very compelling salesman. Adolph Coors convinced Denver businessman, Jacob Schueler, to build the Golden Brewery in 1873. The new partners began brewing in the foothills of Colorado at The Old Tannery Building. The brewery was a quick success; before one year had passed they were brewing 100 kegs of beer per day.
A stow away himself, Adolph Coors enjoyed hiring other German-immigrants in the area. He treasured the ability to help others, while building his own American dream. Tenacity didnt stop at this point; it had hardly begun.It only took a short 7-year period to buy out his business partner, and become the sole owner of the Adolph Coors Brewery. This was one of only 1,568 breweries open before the Prohibition of 1920.
The Prohibition started with the Anti-Saloon League (ASL) of 1873. Thousands of women marched from church meetings to saloons, where prayer and song they demanded(Clark, 1998). By 1916, over one half of the states supported anti-saloon laws, and prohibited the manufacture of any alcoholic beverages.
Congress passed the National Prohibition Act to uphold the 18th Amendment. As of midnight January 16, 1920, breweries would shut down and manufacturing of alcoholic beverages would cease. Adolph Coors is faced with yet another challenge. Over the next years his empire was not so strong, but still profitable. He began manufacturing porcelain goods, ceramic supplies, and still brewed near beer. Near beer was not as
popular as alcoholic beverages, but still customers purchased it. Fortunately, for Adolph Coors, Hershey was ready for a new product malted chocolates. There was nothing that
Coors knew better than how to malt, even though his point of reference was barley, he would make this work. He and his three sons signed a contract to produce malted chocolate for the Hershey Company.
Throughout the prohibition his pottery company, The Denver Pottery Company, grew considerably. In fact, on June 6, 1929, the announcement of his death on the front cover of The Virginia-Pilot, a local newspaper, read
Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, aged 82, retires pottery manufacturer of Golden Colorado, was killed instantly yesterday by a fall from a window of a Virginia Beach hotel, where he was stopping Virginia Pilot, 1929 (cited by Tazewell, ed., 1998).
Certainly, Adolph Coors would have preferred the title of Brewer, but due to the prohibition, his dreams in life disappeared at his reality of death. His dreams of running a successful brewery would begin again, only 4 years later. The prohibition Act had been overturned and ended in 1933. His son, Joseph Coors, (now President) reopened the brewery for the manufacturing of Coors beer, only 750 breweries survived the prohibition years, Adolph Coors was the basis of this companys success.
Although the Virginia Pilot did not recognize the true dream of Adolph Coors, his obituary, written by his family, read:
Denver, Col., June 5, –(AP)Adolph Herman Joseph Coors, who died in a fall from a window of a Virginia Beach hotel today, was one of Colorados wealthiest business men.
Born in Prussia in 1847, he came to the United States at the age of 20 years, first settling in Chicago, where he became a brewery worker. In
1872 he came to Colorado a year later started a bottling business at Golden, near Denver. A few months later he started a brewery, which he continued to operate until prohibition became effective in Colorado, when he turned the plant into a malted milk manufacturing plant. He also owned and operated one of the states largest potteries New York Times, 1929 (cited by Tazewell, ed., 1998).
Was the plunge intentional? We will never know. The subject is still debated by some of Colorados well-known historians. This man, this brewer, obviously, came to America with a dream, learned the language, built his empire, and has passed it down 3 generations. Whether he felt distress from the challenges he faced is irrelevant to his ancestors, he has left a large impact on the economy in Golden, Colorado, through the brewery, pottery, packaging, and food products that his company now maintains. As Francis Scott Fitzgerald once said, America is a willingness of the heart.
Aaron, J. E. (2000). The Little, Brown Compact Handbook. (Revised Custom Edition). Reading, MA: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
Baum, D. (2000). Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty. William, Morrow & Co.
Clark, N. H. (1998). Prohibition. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99, CD-ROM. Available: Microsoft Corporation: Ondisc Item: X03-68676
Tazewell, C. W. (Ed.). (1998). Goode and Goodie Home Page. The Adolph Coors Story. Online. Available: http://visi.net/cwt/goodie8.html