Beer In Ads #40: Coors’ Rocky Mountain Spring Water

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Tuesday’s ad is for Coors because it’s the anniversary of their merger with Molson five years ago. This ad is from 1977, the year I graduated from high school, and Coors was still considered a “cool” brand because we couldn’t get it on the east coast. It looks so amateurish now, and I love the tagline suggestion “refrigerate to retain brewery fresh flavor.” Was keeping beer in the refrigerator still uncommon enough that suggesting it was a prominent part of their advertising. It’s interesting that Coors’ obsession with cold is at least three decades old.

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Comments

  1. says

    Coors, at the time, was still pretty paranoid about refrigerating their non-pasteurized “microfiltered/sterile filled” beer. They required refrigerated trucks and warehouses for all their distributors and “encouraged” retailers to only store Coors in the cooler.

    Even tho’ they were among the pioneering brewers to do the work on the process (including the related development of the aluminum beer can), they seemed to have been less trustful of it. Few, if any, of the many “real draft in can” beers that came along later in the mid-1960’s suggested/required refrigeration at all times). They also had one of the shortest “pull date” shelf life periods in the industry at the time (2 months, IIRC). Both requirements probably slowed their march East until saner (or maybe just more ambitious?) heads prevailed in Golden.

  2. says

    You graduated HS in ’77? Same here! I remember friends bringing back stashes of Coors from Colorado to Michigan where I grew up. Now I live in Colorado and never touch that brand any more. Funny how life changes eh? Cheers to the class of ’77 – was a good year to get out of high school.

  3. Ben says

    One of the stories I have read (probably in either
    Ambitious Brew or Beer Blast) is that Coors was very strict about refigeration at its distributors and retaiers. This required lots of new investment in refrigerated storage for those that wanted to sell Coors. After all this Coors then made a TV commercial that featured Mr. Coors standing next to a stack of unrefrigerated beer in an end cap display at a grocery store. So yeah, they pissed off a lot of their distribution chain with that one.

  4. says

    I worked at a Coors distributor for several years — and yes they were very obsessed with cold storage. This was due to the fact that they were the only mega brewer who did not pasteurize their beer, so distributors had to set up expensive cold storage units. We had a rail spur at the warehouse; the beer came in via refrigerated rail cars. Twice each year the brewery would come out and audit the market and if they found old beer it was a big deal. Joe Morgan (the ex baseball star) had a Coors distributorship in the Bay Area and after failing a couple of these audits it was taken away from him. So — not much taste but the Coors family was very rigorous about maintaining freshness.

    The ads were great also because they would not depict any humans in them (until the early 80’s I think); always a glass of beer and a pristine nature setting, usually with some water and/or snow in them. Bill Coors was fond of saying they “would never put people in their ads”…

    As for the ad where they showed the warm stored beer, it was Mark Harmon (the Coors spokesman) who appeared in it, not Mr. Coors. It did cause quite a stir – distributors were angry as hornets over it! They were already worked up because not long before Coors had brought out the “easy open can” that had the tabs you pressed into the can. Customers were cutting their fingers and thumbs all the time and the distributors phones rang off the hook with pissed off bloody customers. Bill Coors actually got up in front of his distributors at a meeting a showed how easy it was to open with golf ball! My former boss then asked Bill Coors if he expected all their customers to carry golf balls in their pockets. Bill was furious at this remark. It was, frankly, rather comical.

    Also Mr. Nuts – Coors and Molson did merge a few years back. They are joined together across the globe. MillerCoors (as the company is known in the US) is a distribution agreement between the two companies – but only for the American market. Outside the US they are not affiliated. They did this out of necessity to have more economy of scale to compete with Anheuser-Busch. My guess is that Coors probably regrets this marriage now.

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