Bill Coors, Influential Beer Industry Leader, Dies at 102

October 14, 2018, 2:06 PM UTC
bill coors
William (“Bill”) K. Coors dead at 102.
Molson Coors

Bill Coors, the grandson of Adolph Coors and the former chairman of the brewing company that bears his family’s name, died Saturday at the age of 102.

Coors was a titan in the brewing world, spending 65 years with the brewer and being responsible, in part, for the company’s growth from a regional brewer to one of the largest beer brands in America.

Coors’ defining moment, though, came at the start of his tenure as chairman in 1959, when he introduced beer in recyclable aluminum cans, the first time the industry had used those in any widespread capacity. Coors was also one of the first companies to user the push tab top on beer cans, doing away with pull tabs that were becoming a litter problem in the early 1970s.

“Would the aluminum can have ever arrived without me? Of course, its advent was inevitable. All I did was hurry it along,” Coors would say when asked about his development of the can in the past.

Today, Coors is part of a larger conglomerate, merging in 2004 with Canadian brewer Monson. The combined company today has a wide variety of holdings and is considering expansion into nontraditional fields, including cannabis.

“Our company stands on the shoulders of giants like Bill Coors,” said Mark Hunter, president and CEO of Molson Coors. “His dedication, hard work and ingenuity, helped shape not only our company but the entire beer industry. We honor his memory by rededicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much – brewing the best tasting, highest quality beer to share with family and friends.”

Coors also launched one of the country’s first employee wellness centers and was involved with numerous civic organizations. He remained active with the company until two years ago, serving as an official beer taste tester.