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William Coors, 101, Receives Beer Industry Service Award

Bill Coors in 1959.
Bill Coors in 1959.

The Beer Institute, representing brewers, beer importers and industry suppliers, awarded William “Bill” Coors, director emeritus and technical advisor at MillerCoors, with the 2017 Jeff Becker Beer Industry Service Award for his lifetime of dedication to the beer industry and America’s beer drinkers.

Pete Coors, nephew of 101-year-old Bill Coors and vice-chairman of the board at Molson Coors, accepted the award on his behalf at the Beer Institute’s Annual Membership Meeting, which was held in July in San Diego, California.

“Bill’s innovation and commitment to bettering the lives of people around him have earned him the respect and admiration from professionals across the beer industry,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute. “From his work designing the modern recyclable two-piece aluminum can to his long-serving commitment to the company founded by his grandfather, Bill has changed the way that we enjoy beer, and today continues to contribute to MillerCoors through his technical expertise.”

“Jeff Becker was a personal friend of mine, and I want to thank the Beer Institute for honoring me with this award in the name of a good man,” said Bill Coors. “Having spent seven-plus decades in the industry has given me intimate knowledge of the hard work that goes into making beer, and it’s easy to understand why it’s the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country. From the workers on the brewery floors to the delivery truck drivers, I am proud to have spent my entire professional career part of a field responsible for employing tens of thousands of Americans.”

With 76 years of service, Bill Coors is the senior employee at Coors, where he shaped how the world drinks beer and other beverages. In the 1950s, he played a major role in the development of the aluminum can, which today is the standard in the beverage industry. He also is credited with the introduction of light, pilsner beers and the development of a proprietary, sterile-fill packaging technology.

Born Aug. 11, 1916, the grandson of Adolph Coors, Bill Coors spent four years at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, before entering Princeton University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1938 and a graduate degree in 1939.

Bill Coors has been involved with numerous civic, educational and business organizations throughout his career. Some of his more recent associations include president of Adolph Coors Foundation; past chairman of Colorado Outward Bound School; and a member of the boards of trustees of Denver University, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Art Museum Foundation and Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Denver Foundation. In addition, he is founding/lifetime trustee of Colorado University President’s Leadership Class and trustee emeritus of Colorado School of Mines.

About the author


A 10-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.

1 Comment

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  • What a great story about a wonderful man, who is still here to share his knowledge and experiences in an important company that continues to thrive through the many changes!

    Mary Lou Chapman
    Rocky Mountain Food Industry Assn.

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