Historic Beer Birthday: William K. “Bill” Coors

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Today is the birthday of William Kistler “Bill” Coors (August 11, 1916- ). Bill Coors was born in Golden, Colorado, and is the grandson of Adolph Coors, who founded the Coors Brewing Company in 1873. He worked for the family business all his life, and ran the brewery from 1961–2003.

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William K. Coors in 1982.

Here’s a short description of Coors from the Leadership Initiative of the Harvard Business School:

Under Coors’ leadership, the brewery underwent a period of massive growth. Though it was a regional brewery, it held the top market share in 10 of the 11 western states in which its product was distributed, becoming the 4th largest brewer in the United States in the mid-1970s. Despite several union confrontations and product boycotts as a result of Coors’ political opinions, Coors took the firm public and established a national presence for its products.

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And this is from the Academy of Achievement in Washington, D.C.:

From 1961 to 2003, William K. Coors served as Chairman of the Adolph Coors Company of Golden, Colorado. The grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors, he joined the family firm in 1939, where he pioneered the development of the recyclable aluminum can. He assumed the chairmanship and presidency of the Coors Company in 1961, shortly after his older brother, Adolph Coors III, was murdered in a bungled kidnapping attempt. Rising above this senseless tragedy, William Coors led the company through an unprecedented period of expansion, one that ultimately transformed a little known local brewery into the nation’s third largest, a massive, vertically integrated business that included Coors Transportation, Coors Container (the largest single can plant in the world) and the Coors Food Products Company. He led the way in making the Coors Company energy self-sufficient, and expanded the company’s program of aluminum recycling, at one point recovering and recycling as much as 85 percent of its cans, while handling a third of the nation’s recycled aluminum. Even after retiring from the Board of Directors in 2003, he remained active in the company, working well into his 90s as a senior technical adviser.

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William Coors on March 12, 1976, by photographer Bill Johnson.

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The Adolph Coors Company Board of Directors posing together at the dedication of the new headhouse at the brewery in Golden, Col., on April 16, 1952. Three men are standing and three men are seated on top of the headhouse. Standing in back left to right are brothers, William K. Coors, Joseph Coors, and Adolph Coors III. Seated in front left to right are brothers Grover Coors, Herman Coors, and Adolph Coors II (from the Golden History Museum).

And here’s a short video about Bill Coors, from his induction into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 1996.

Beer Birthday: Paul Gatza

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Today is also Paul Gatza’s 52nd birthday. Paul is the Director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. He’s held numerous executive positions with the BA and its previous incarnation, the Association of Brewers. An avid homebrewer, Paul is great face for the BA and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Paul a very happy birthday.

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Toasting in New Orleans for CBC.

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Working the AHA booth at GABF.

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At the podium during the opening of CBC in 2008.

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Paul giving his annual state of the industry talk at CBC in 2012.

Historic Beer Birthday: Charles von Buddenbrock

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Today is the birthday of Charles von Buddenbrock (June 27, 1878-1948). He was born in Marianwewrder, Germany and served in the Germany army during World War I. He was taken prisoner and brought to an interment camp in Colorado. After his release when the war ended, he decided to stay in Colorado and worked for the Schneider Brewery in Trinidad, Colorado for over 35 years. In 1920 he was listed as the Chief Engineer, but that would have been only shortly after he started working there. I’m not sure about the math, since he died in 1948 and the war ended in 1918. Also known as the Ph. Schneider Brewing Co., it survived prohibition by obtaining a license to brew non-alcoholic beverages, and later received brewery permit COL-U-1001 in 1933, the first in the state to get back to making beer. After prohibition ended, it went through a few owners, and name changes, before closing for good in 1957 as the Bohemian Brewery of Colorado.

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Beer Birthday: John Bryant

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Today is my good friend John Bryant’s 50th birthday. I first met John when he was with Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Several years ago he migrated to Odell Brewing in Fort Collins to work his magic on them, and then a few years ago he joined Dale at Oskar Blues. He then left Oskar Blues and disappeared for a time, finally re-emerging in Spokane, Washington with the newly rebranded No-Li Brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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At the Brewer’s Reception before GABF in 2006. From left: Bob Pease (Brewers Association), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River Brewing), John and his wife Cindy, Banjo (Real Beer) and Tom McCormick (California Craft Brewers Association).

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John, with Ray Daniels of the Brewers Association, who celebrated his own birthday last week.

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John and me during a visit to the brewery a few summers ago, when we were in Colorado for my cousin’s wedding.

Beer Birthday: Julia Herz

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Today is the 48th birthday of Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. She worked for big media like CNN before turning her attention to craft beer in 2007, when she joined the organization. Julia was an awesome addition to the BA and was an integral part of its growth and the positive attention that beer is starting to get from the media at large, plus she’s a pleasure to work with. Join me in wishing Julia a very happy birthday.

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Hawking the media at GABF in 2008.

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Peace, Julia, peace.

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Julia with Erin Fay Glass at CBC in San Francisco in 2011.

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The BA staff photo from the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago in 2010. Julia’s near the center in the front row, just to the right of Charlie Papazian (in the tuxedo).

Beer Birthday: Adam Avery

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Today is also Adam Avery’s 50th birthday — the Big 5-0. Adam, of course, founded his eponymous brewery, Avery Brewing, in Boulder, Colorado. Since 1993, Adam’s been making some increasingly hoppy and big, challenging beers that are also quote wonderful, too. Join me in wishing Adam a very happy birthday.

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At a Collaboration Beer Dinner with Bruce Paton, center, pitting Adam Avery’s beers against Vinnie Cilurzo’s in 2007.

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Tomme Arthur, from Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, with Adam — behind bars — and Eric Rose, from Hollister Brewing at CBC in Austin, Texas 2007.

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After the Five Guys and a Barrel Beer Dinner, a toast was offered with Isabelle Proximus, the Collaborative Sour Ale made by blending beer and done by the five of them. Top row: Adam, Rob Tod, Bruce Paton and Sam Calagione. Bottom row: Tomme Arthur and Vinnie Cilurzo.

Beer Birthday: Eric Warner

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Today is the 52nd birthday of Eric Warner. Eric founded Tabernash Brewing in Colorado, and later ran Flying Dog Brewing, until they moved their operations to Maryland. He’s also the author of two brewing books, German Wheat Beer and Kolsch: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes. More recently, he moved to Houston to be the brewmaster (although his official title is “Yeast Rancher”) at Karbach Brewing. I first met Eric at Tabernash a million years ago, and several times since then, though for some odd reason I can’t locate any photos. Join me in wishing Eric a very happy birthday.

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Eric sitting for a local Texas magazine, 022Houston, about Menspiration.

Beer Birthday: Gary Glass

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Today is the 43rd birthday of Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s been with the Brewers Association for many a moon and has become the face of homebrewing in America. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday. And relax, drink a homebrew, if you have one.

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Gary at Anchor Brewery with his wife Erin after an AHA rally there in 2008.

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Gary talking with Fred Eckhardt at Hopworks Urban Brewery, flanked by Christian Ettinger and Brian Butenschoen, Oregon Brewers Guild Director. Photo by Oregon Brewers Guild.

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Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

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Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Cigar City Bought By Fireman Capital

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In an exclusive this morning, Brewbound is reporting that Fireman Capital to Purchase Cigar City. According to Brewbound, “Cigar City, a leading independent brewery based in Tampa, Fla., has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, which already owns majority stakes in Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative outfit that includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.”

The overall entity created by Fireman Capital for their brewery acquisitions is United Craft Brews LLC, incorporated in Delaware. The SEC Form D lists Fireman Capital’s address is Waltham, Massachusetts, but information on OpenLEIs lists a registered address in Delaware, but Oskar Blues’ Longmont address as Headquarters for United Craft Brews. Last year, Westwood was still asking Does Oskar Blues Still Own Oskar Blues? This will undoubtedly continue to muddy the waters surrounding the answer to that question.

Rumors had been swirling that ABI was considering Cigar City as their next target for acquisition, and founder Joey Redner confirmed that he’d gotten as far as signing an LOI. But ABI let their exclusivity period pass without executing a formal purchase agreement, leaving Cigar City free to entertain other potential buyers.

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Cigar City’s website posted a joint press release about the transaction:

Oskar Blues Brewery Rolls up a Cigar City Blunt

Longmont, CO, & Tampa Bay, FL — Oskar Blues Brewery announced the acquisition of Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Putting months of acquirement rumors to rest, the decision is driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots.

The combination stems from the want to take risks, sniff out bullsh*t and grow against-the-grain in an era of increasing competition within craft beer. The collaboration will match years of large-scale growth, expansion expertise and resources of Oskar Blues with the strength of Cigar City’s local following to help both breweries strengthen their future position. Similarly to Oskar Blues, Cigar City’s award-winning brews are well known and respected within the craft community.

“Cigar City is facing next-level challenges and we needed to develop next-level skills and resources to meet them. But, we got into beer out of passion and an unwavering desire to travel our own path. We didn’t want to just shove our round peg into some f*cking square hole and hope for the best. Florida craft beer drinkers want something they can proudly stand behind. These guys get that. They wrote the book on keeping it real,” says Joey, founder of Cigar City Brewing. Joey will remain as CEO of Cigar City following the transaction.

Since 2009, Cigar City Brewing achieved a near constant growth pattern reaching nearly 60,000 barrels in 2015, placing the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida on the craft beer map. The partnership will provide additional investment for Cigar City’s infrastructure growth within Florida.

“What Cigar City has done for the community of Florida craft beer is impressive. It’s important for our culture to do business with people we want to hang out with and Joey and the gang fit,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, stated about the new partnership.

Oskar Blues Brewery is the funky brewpub that started brewing beer in 1999 in the small town of Lyons, CO and is responsible for starting the craft beer in-a-can movement in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery expanded down the street to Longmont, CO. and added an additional brewery in Brevard, NC in 2012. Oskar Blues brewed 192,000 barrels in 2015 and announced another brewery in Austin, TX scheduled to open in May of 2016.

Terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Danny Williams

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Today would have been Danny Williams’ 57th birthday today, having been born exactly two days before yours truly in 1959. Unfortunately, Danny lost a battle with cancer a little over four years ago, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 23, 2012. For over a decade, Danny worked for the Brewers Association as the beer competition manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Danny left behind two grown children and an 8-year old son, Fletcher. His friend Ben Spencer, who’s also a good friend of mine, lets me know from time to time how Danny’s kids are doing, which is great. Join me in raising a birthday beer and giving a toast to the memory of Danny Williams tonight. Danny would have wanted it that way.

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Danny Williams and a friend at the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago two years ago.

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Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy Johnson, Director of GABF and Danny at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

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Danny in the former goldmine beer cellar.

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Danny’s Angels, after a BA event.