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Once upon a time, a young German‐born beer‐hitch driver, who had fled his homeland to avoid the draft, was hiking in the hills west of the rowdy mining tvery own of Deaver, once he came throughout a picturesque valley watered by a stream aptly called Clear Creek. This, he chose, would certainly be the best place for a brewery. He collection out to build one, and it prospered and also grew as the monitoring was passed on from father to kid. A bit more than a century later, the young immigrant's dream had actually come to be the fourth largest beer manufacturer in the United States.

The man's name was Adolph Coors. The story may sound like somepoint out of James Michener's “Centennial,” yet that is actually just how Coors occurred from a tiny Western market in 1873 to a significant family members empire. Coors is even more than just a success story, but. The Coors brand have the right to lay claim to being the a lot of chic brew in the nation. At the exact same time, ironically, the name has actually come to be anathema to civil libertarians and political moderates.

Today, the massive repertoire of gray‐white buildings in Golden, Colo., houses the biggest single brewery in the human being and among the country's many self‐had corporations. It likewise homes the office of the a lot of renowned Coors, Joseph, grandboy of the founder, executive vice president of the firm and ultraconservative zealot who was freshly rejected by a Senate committee for a seat on the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

For a lot of of its history, the Coors empire was permitted to flourish quietly while its owners let the champions of Coors beer spreview its fame roughly the people. But the firm started increasing its profile a number of years ago, once Joseph Coors publicized his idcology as a University of Colorado regent. This year, to the company's dismay, Coors has been in the headlines routinely, many thanks to a Supreme Court judgment versus its restrictive circulation policies; thanks, likewise, to the first public sale of some of its nonvoting stock, to Joseph Coors's C.P.B. nomicountry and to a lawsuit by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging the agency with race and sex discrimination.


In many methods, Coors is the perfect product of the Amerideserve to free‐enterprise device to which its height officials regularly pay homage. Since Adolph Coors started bottling the brew in 1873, the operation has actually increased into a $585 million company, employing some 7,500, most of them in the brewery and associated infrastructure sprawled on 3,100 acres in Golden. It has climbed from 12th in national sales in 1965 to fourth (behind Budweiser, Schlitz and Pabst), also though it is dispersed in just 11 Western says while its rivals are marketing throughout the nation. It is the leader in all however among its says, the exception being Texas (wright here it is not dispersed in all areas). Additionally, it has actually recorded the No. 4 spot through a bare minimum of phelp declaring. Over the years, the company has got its own barley fields, rice ‐ milling facilities, building and construction crew, aluminumcan‐manufacturing plant, and also trucks, so that it counts on the exterior human being for as little bit aid as possible. Coors also owns some natural‐gas reserves to supply its plants through fuel.

But it is not so much the product as the mystique bordering it that is fascinating. It appears to have won a reputation as the elixir of beers, the brew of Pinhabitants, a prize to be smuggled into the East the method Americans awide used to smuggle in contraband copies of Henry Miller's novels. Paul Newmale, the king of beer‐drinking actors, is sassist to call for Coors on ice at all his movie sets. Henry Kissinger frequently carried situations ago to Washington each time he made a trip to The golden state. Secret Service agents were forbidden to carry added crates‐ aboard Federal planes after one agent was discov ered to have actually loaded 38 instances onto a current trip from the West Coast.

Bootleggers from New Jersey to Tenneswatch routinely sell cases of Coors for as much as $15—around three times the Coloraexecute retail price. (And three times what a New Yorker may pay for that favorite of Met fans, Schaefer.) Obviously, Coors must be a magic potion, not sindicate a fermented blfinish of barley malt, rice, hops and “Pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water.” What accounts for the magic?

“I frankly can't describe it,” states Ernest Pyler, editor of Brewers Digest. “Coors by impending standards is a great beer, but so are many type of others. I think it's mostly because of its unavailability.” Joe Nazzaro, a bartender from Connectireduced that functions at the Ute City Banque restaurant in Aspen, remarks: “It's funny. I go residence to Connecticut; it's a huge deal to bring my father a couple of cases of Coors. But out here I don't think twice about it.”

Neither execute many type of Westerners. Even though they chuga‐lug gallons of the stuff, it is most likely bereason Coors is cheep and abundant. I've never watched any type of of the neighborhood folks fuss once a bar is out of Coors; they sindicate order somepoint else. Montanans, that are exterior the Coors area, would certainly no more pay $15 for a instance of Coors than they would for a situation of Dr. Pepper. “Are you kidding?” laughed a frifinish from Billings. “For $15 I might buy me a nice huge bottle of Haig & Haig Pinch.”


Another explacountry has been readily available by William K. Coors, chairguy of the board and second‐oldest kid of Adolph Coors 2d, that complied with his father as head of the company. (The oldest boy, Adolph 3d, was murdered in 1960 after being kidnapped, apparently for ransom.) “There's no mystique about Coors's popularity,” Bill Coors told one interviewer. “It tastes better than other beers, that's all.”

Taste, of course, is a subjective point. Some Coors detractors that choose to make fun of Easterners' silly addiction say that what makes Coors distinctive is its tack of taste. I think they may be best, although I'm hardly a beer connoisseurs I had never drunk beer until a couple of, years ago, as soon as a skiing companion in Utah invited me to sign up with in his routine of burying a deserve to of Coors in snow prior to hitting the slopes, then digging it out at the finish of the day for a cold pick‐me‐up. The incredibly blandness of Coors (and also my thirst after a day of skiing) made it simple for a nondrinker choose me to obtain the taste.

Coors is a light‐bodied beer, meaning it is brewed through less malt, fewer hops and even more rice than beers through a tangy taste. Contrasted via Heineken's or other more fullbodied international beers, Coors does seem almost flavormuch less and also it is this high quality that could account for its popularity among young people just starting to gain acquainted with the pleasures of beer drinking. A few locals scoff at Coors, calling it “Coloraexecute Kool‐Aid.” But the truth is that, according to Ernest Pyler, “if you conducted a blindfold test of the four leading beers, the opportunities of picking out Coors would be minimal.” Indeed, one nationwide newspaper conducted an informal test among eight beer drinkers, finding that only 3 could properly recognize Coors. My very own admittedly uneducated palate detects no distinction in between Coors and Schaefer. In brief, the difference in between Coors and also any various other decent beer could be 1,800 miles. Maybe, if Paul Newman unexpectedly switched to Schaefer, Denverites would pay $15 a case for it.

There is one facet to the Coors mystique that does have measurable validity. Company type of officials make much of the reality that Coors has actually great hill water and the most expensive brewing procedure in the country. Several elements are unexplained, though not unique.

Thousands of visitors have actually learned around the process on guided tours with the antiseptic, Spartan plant. (For out‐of‐towners, the tour is regularly a pilgrimage—however for regional students of the Coloracarry out School of Mines, it's commonly more in the line of a quick belt prior to classes. The tour lasts 30 minutes, at the end of which visitors are invited to quaff to their heart's content in the hospitality lounge. “I've come right here 50 times,” boasted one student as he poliburned off a glass at 11:30 one morning in the lounge.) Situated in the facility of town, between 2 high, level mesas in the foothills of the Rockies, the plant dominates the community just as the rather rancid smell of malt appears to permeate the air; onefourth of the town's households are shelp to owe their work to the factory's operations. Anyone expecting to see in Golden the foaming white waterautumn amid mountain pines that is pictured on every yellow have the right to of Coors will certainly be disappointed. The water supplied in the impending originates from nondemanuscript wells hidden in concrete blockhomes. The brewery currently puts out around 12 million barrels of beer a year, but building sites throughout the grounds bear witness to the company's wishes for doubling that capacity by 1984.

Like various other beers, Coors is produced from barley. Many of the massive Midwestern brewers usage barley grvery own in North Dakota and Minnesota. Coors is the single Amerihave the right to brewer to usage a Moravian strain, grown under agency supervision, on ranches in Coloraexecute, Idaho, Wyoming and also Montana. At the brewery, the barley is turned right into malt by being soaked in water—which have to be biologically pure and also of a well-known mineral content—for numerous days, bring about it to sprout and creating a chemical change—breaking dvery own starch right into sugar, The malt is toasted, a process that halts the sprouting and also determines the shade and sweetness (the more the roasting, the darker, even more bitter the beer). It is ground right into flour and also brewed. through more pure water, in expensive copper‐domed kettles until it is the consistency of oatmeal. Rice and polished starch are included to make mash; solids are strained out, leaving an amber liquid malt extract, which is boiled through hops—the dried cones from the hop vine which include to the bitterness, or tang. The hops are strained, yeastern is added, turning the sugar to alcohol. and also the beer is aged in huge red vats at near‐freezing temperatures for almost two months, in the time of which the second fermentation takes place and also the liquid becomes carbonated, or bubbly. (Many type of breweries chemically age their beer to speed up production; Coors people say just naturally aged brew deserve to be referred to as a true “lager.”) Next, the beer is filtered through cellushed filters to remove bacteria, and also lastly is pumped right into cans, bottles or kegs for shipping.

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The the majority of unexplained facet of the Coors procedure is that the beer is not pasteurized, as all yet a half‐dozen of the 90 or so American beers are. In the pasteurization procedure, bottles or cans of beer are passed through a heating unit and also then cooled This destroys the yeast in the brew which could reason spoilage, if the cans or bottles or barrels are unrefrigerated for any kind of lengthy period. However before, pasteurization additionally changes the flavor of beer. Coors stopped pasteurizing its product 18 years ago because it determined that “warm is an foe of beer,” according to a firm spokesman.