Today is the 52nd birthday of Jim Parker, who’s been a fixture in the Colorado, national and Oregon beer scene for over 25 years. He founded the Mountain Tap Tavern in 1992, in Colorado, and also worked for the IBS (formerly part of the Brewers Association), was director of the American Homebrewers Association, editor-in-chief of Zymurgy and New Brewer, Executive Director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, as well as starting and working at mant different breweries. Jim was also the first person I know to put Tot-chos on a menu, and for that alone he gets into heaven in my book. Jim is a terrifc person and very passionate about beer. As you may, or may not, have heard, last month Jim suffered a sever stroke and is currently in rehab, with a long road to recovery ahead of him. Today at Belmont Station, co-owner Lisa Morrison is hosting a fundraiser for Jim, who is expected to be there. So if you can make it, please support Jim’s recovery. Jim’s family has created a GoFundMe page to help out with Jim’s large expenses for his treatment. Please donate generously if you’re able. And by all means, let’s raise a toast to Jim today, as we we wish him a very happy birthday.
Today is the 57th birthday of Bob Pease. Bob is the CEO of the Brewers Association and has been integral to their growth. He’s been with the BA since 1993 and was made V.P. in 1999. A few years ago he was promoted to COO, and in August of 2014 was promoted yet again. He’s worked directly on the Export Development Program and also on Government Affairs, especially with respect to Federal Excise Tax legislation. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Joseph Coors Sr. (November 12, 1917–March 15, 2003). He was the grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors and president of Coors Brewing Company. “After graduation, he began work in the Coors Porcelain Co., the porcelain business that helped the company survive Prohibition. With his brother William Coors (whose desks were located only one foot apart), Joseph refined the cold-filtered beer manufacturing system and began America’s first large-scale recycling program by offering 1-cent returns on Coors aluminum cans. He served one term as a regent of the University of Colorado in 1967-1972, attempting to quell what he considered to be campus radicalism during the Vietnam war. He served as president of Coors in 1977-1985, and chief operating officer in 1980-1988. His leadership helped expand Coors beer distribution from 11 Western states in the 1970s to the entire USA by the early 1990s.”
This short biography is from Find-a-Grave:
Businessman. Brewery magnate and leading member of the Coors Brewing family and company founded by his grandfather. Worked at the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado, starting in 1946 as technical director, became Executive Vice President in 1975, President in 1977, and Chief Operating Officer from 1985-1987. Engaged in an intense conforation with labor over an effort to unionize the Coors Brewery. An outspoken conservative who helped establish (with Paul Weyrich) The Heritage Foundation, The Independnce Institute (Golden, Colorado), and the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Elected to one term as a Regent of the University of Colorado (1966). Member of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ of President Ronald Reagan.
And this brief biography of Joe Coors is from CoorsTek:
Joseph Coors, Sr., one of Adolph Jr.’s sons, assumed leadership at the pottery in 1946 and began the process of becoming the industrial ceramic technology leader. He started the first formal R&D group at Coors Porcelain and strengthened the technical and design staff.
Here’s his obituary from CBS News:
Joseph Coors, who used his brewing fortune to support President Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, has died at age 85.
Coors, whose grandfather founded Golden-based Adolph Coors Co. in 1873, died Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a three-month battle with lymphatic cancer.
In the 1970s, Coors began providing money and his famous name to start the Heritage Foundation, the influential think tank in Washington, D.C. Even earlier, he served as one of Reagan’s advisers and backers in the “kitchen Cabinet,” which financed Reagan’s political career from the governorship of California to the White House. The two first met in Palm Springs, Calif., in 1967.
“Without Joe Coors, the Heritage Foundation wouldn’t exist — and the conservative movement it nurtures would be immeasurably poorer,” the foundation’s president, Edwin Feulner, said in a statement.
In 1988 he retired as chief operating officer. He remained a director until three years ago.
Coors used his chemical engineering background to refine the brewery’s cold-filtered beer manufacturing system, which he created with his brother Bill. The brothers also initiated what is believed to have been the first large-scale recycling program by offering a one cent return on Coors’ aluminum cans in 1959.
Until the 1970s, Coors beer was sold in 11 just Western states. But aggressive competition from industry giants Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing prompted the company to expand. By the early 1990s, Coors was available nationwide. It is the third-largest brewer in the United States.
But the company was the object of sometimes bitter criticism from activists who criticized Coors’ politics and accused the company of a variety of violations of labor and environmental laws and bias against gays and other minorities.
In 1977, labor unions launched a boycott after a bitter 20-month strike. The boycott ended 10 years later after the company agreed to forgo erecting legal roadblocks often used by management against an attempt to organize its workforce. The following year, Coors employees turned down Teamsters representation.
Born in Golden on Nov. 12, 1917, Coors was educated in public schools. He graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1940 with a degree in chemical engineering.
His first job at Coors Co. was with the company’s ceramics division, working in the clay pits west of Golden where the raw material for porcelain was mined. The porcelain business, purchased in the early 1900s, helped keep the company afloat during Prohibition, when the brewery produced malted milk and near-beer.
Coors also served a term as a regent of the University of Colorado, confronting what he saw as campus radicalism during the Vietnam War.
Coors and his brother worked in the same office, their desks not more than a foot apart. But Bill Coors said their politics were quite different.
“He was very principled and dedicated. But we got along a lot better if we didn’t talk politics,” Bill Coors said. “He was conservative as they come. I mean he was a little bit right of Attila the Hun.
In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, Anne; five sons, Joseph Jr., Jeffrey, Peter, Grover and John, all of the Golden area; 27 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Today is the birthday of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., one of my favorite authors. I wrote about him when he passed away in 2007 in a post entitled So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut’s Beer Heritage and detailed his relationship with John Hickelooper’s father and a beer Wynkoop later made based on Vonnegut’s grandfather’s recipe. There were essentially two different beer stories involving the Wynkoop Brewing and Vonnegut, and I’ve learned a little more about them over the past decade.
The first one was in the mid-1990s, when the Denver Public Library held a special event around 1996 (sources vary between 1995-97) called Denver Public Libation to commemorate the opening of the new library. The library partnered with Wynkoop, who invited several well-known authors to write mini-stories to be printed on the labels. Some of the writers included Clive Cussler, Allen Ginsberg, and Hunter Thompson, among others. Vonnegut also wrote something for the event. His piece was 160 words and entitled “Merlin,” and tells the story of “the unfortunate events that ensue when the master wizard casts a spell that equips the Knights of the Round Table with Thompson submachine guns.” Despite its short length, I cannot find a copy of it anywhere, and it doesn’t appear to have been reprinted anywhere else. It’s listed in his bibliography as having only been “Serialized on bottles of Denver Public Libation Ale, made by Wynkoop Brewing Company.”
John Hickenlooper wrote about the story in “The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics:”
The second instance was around the same time, when Wynkoop created a beer with Vonnegut based on his grandfather’s recipe. It was called Wynkoop Mile High Malt.
Vonnegut himself detailed the experience in his 1997 semi-autobiographical novel “Timequake.”
The label artwork was based on a self-portrait by Vonnegut, who was also an artist.
And in the book “Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut,” by Kurt Vonnegut and William Richard Allen, he explains more about his grandfather’s beer.
On November 11, 2007, Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, reintroduced Kurt’s Mile High Malt to celebrate the late author’s birthday. The beer was originally created by Vonnegut’s grandfather, Albert Lieber, of the Indianapolis Brewery, using coffee as the secret ingredient. Kurt’s Mile High Malt was first brewed in 1996 thanks to Wynkoop Founder and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a friend of Vonnegut’s. At Vonnegut’s request, coffee was added to the Mile High Malt, making it a close recreation of his grandfather’s original.
Then, in 2014, they released it again for the brewery’s 25th anniversary. It was part of their “Even-Smaller Batch Series” and was even canned.
Today is the 54th birthday of Chris Swersey, who’s on the staff of the Brewers Association as the Competition Manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. He coordinates all the judges, volunteers and the thousands of beers needed for each festival. It’s a big job and Chris seems to do it effortlessly. Plus, the last two years, Chris and I both judged in Belgium at the Brussels Beer Challenge, which has been great fun. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing. Kim went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, then stayed in town to start New Belgium in 1991. She recently stepped down as CEO of the company and is currently Executive Chair of the Brewery’s Board of Directors. While not exactly retired, just slowed down a bit for the day-to-day, she’s still very active in both the company’s affairs and the brewing industry more generally through the Brewer’s Association. Join me in wishing Kim a very happy birthday.
At the 2008 NBWA welcome reception in San Francisco. From left, Jamie Jurado (then with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).
Kim in costume with Dick Cantwell at Elysian’s annual pumpkin festival in 2013. [Note: This photo purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the 47th birthday of Jason Alström, co-founder of Beer Advocate headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, but found worldwide over that series of tubes known as the interwebs. Though started as a hobby, Beer Advocate has gone on to be one of the internet’s killer apps of beer, which has successfully branched out into publishing and putting on beer festivals. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.
After judging the finals for the 2009 Longshot Homebrew Competition in Boston. From left: Jason, Tony Forder (from Ale Street News), Bob Townsend, Jim Koch (founder of the Boston Beer Co.), yours truly, Julie Johnson (from All About Beer magazine), and Jason’s brother Todd Alström.
During a trip to Bavaria in 2007, the gang of twelve plus three at the Faust Brauerei in Miltenberg, Germany. From left: Cornelius Faust, me, Lisa Morrison, Johannes Faust, Julie Bradford, Andy Crouch, Peter Reid, Horst Dornbusch, Jeannine Marois, Harry Schumacher, Tony Forder, Candice Alström, Don Russell, Jason and Todd Alström.
Today is the 72nd birthday of Peter Hanson Coors (September 20, 1946- ). Pete Coors is the great-grandson of Adolph Coors, who founded Coors Brewing Co. in 1873. He has worked for his family’s brewery since 1971. After their merger with Molson in 2005, and then a joint venture with SABMiller in 2008, Pete is currently the chairman of MillerCoors and the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Here’s his short bio from the MillerCoors website:
Pete joined Adolph Coors Company in 1971 where he held a number of executive and management positions. He previously served as chairman of the board of Adolph Coors Company from 2002 to 2005, and was chief executive officer from May 2000 to July 2002. He served as a director of Coors Brewing Company, the company’s US-based subsidiary, beginning in 1973. In 2002, he was named executive chairman, and was chief executive officer from 1992 to 2000. He has been a director of both US Bancorp and of Energy Corp. of America since 1996. Peter received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and a Master degree in Business Administration from the University of Denver.
And this is his Wikipedia entry:
Coors was born in Golden, Colorado. He is the great-grandson of Adolph Coors, the brewing entrepreneur, and the son of Holly Coors (née Edith Holland Hanson) and Joseph Coors. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and then from Cornell University with a degree in engineering. A member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity, Coors was elected to the Sphinx Head Society during his final year at Cornell. He also received his MBA from the University of Denver in 1970.
Coors has worked all of his life in various positions at his family’s Coors Brewing Company.
In 1993 Coors became vice chairman and CEO of the company, and in 2002 he was named Chairman of Coors Brewing Company and Adolph Coors Company. In 2004, Pete Coors “made $332,402 in salary and a $296,917 bonus as chairman of Adolph Coors. He also received 125,000 stock options with a potential value of $13 million,” according to the Rocky Mountain News. However, he stepped down temporarily from these positions in 2004 to run for the US Senate. After the 2005 merger with Molson, Coors became a Class A Director in the newly formed Molson Coors Brewing Company. In October 2006, he was appointed by the University of Colorado Hospital Board of Directors as chairman of the board for the new University of Colorado Hospital Foundation.
He has served on the boards of U.S. Bancorp, H. J. Heinz Company, HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) Colorado, and Energy Corp. of America. He is also involved in civic organizations such as the Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the National Western Stock Show Association. He is also part of the ownership group of the Colorado Rockies. He is a member at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. In 1997, Coors was granted an Honorary Doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, where he is a trustee. He sits on the Board of Trustees of the American Enterprise Institute.
Today is the 61st birthday of Jeff Lebesch. Although now retired, Jeff was co-founder, and original brewer, at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. Here’s how New Belgium explains their founding:
Our historic roots started with a bicycling trip through Belgium in 1986, when our co-founder Jeff Lebesch discovered the magic of Belgian beers spending an afternoon in a little bar called Bruges Beertje. By the end of the session sampling beers and chatting with the proprietors, Jeff had committed his brewing efforts to the playful experimentation for which Belgian brewers are famous.
Upon returning home to Fort Collins, CO, Jeff and New Belgium co-founder Kim Jordan, developed two beers in their basement: Abbey, a Belgian dubbel, and Fat Tire, a Belgian ale. Belgian-style beers in the U.S. were non-existent at the time and the beers did so well in home brew competitions that they gave it a go as commercial brewers.
At a Russian River Beer Dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in 2009, clockwise from bottom left: Jeff Lebesch, New Belgium founder, his girlfriend Zia, an early employee, Peter Bouckaert, New Belgium’s current head brewer, Dave Keene and Jen Smith, and Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo.
Jeff more recently, spending his time sailing.
And here you can listen to Jeff explain how the New Belgium brewery was started, in 2008, the 20 year anniversary of his bicycle trip through Belgium that inspired starting the business.
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.
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.
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.
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.