View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Defense of Coors 

One commenter over at Jared's site has posted some comments critical of Coors. They're brief, but they deserve a response.

I can think of a whole bunch of reasons to keep Coors employees away from the campaign. Conflict of interest. Campaign laws, especially McCain-Feingold. Lawsuits by disgruntled employees who don't participate and don't get promoted. The company has interests independent of Pete Coors, and can't afford to alienate one of the political parties. None of these involves skeletons, which may still be there.

Secondly, Delegate, check your numbers. Pete Coors has been head of Adolph Coors since 1993, but head of Coors Brewing since 2002. Assuming you mean the former, remember that in late 1993, Adolph Coors spun off ACX, Adolph Coors Technologies, and sold off a biotechnology venture they had gotten involved in. Company employment numbers will reflect that. Also, according to the Denver Post, at the time of the first round of layoffs, in 1993, Coors only employed 5800 people in Colorado, it's not possible for them to have decreased employment by 5000 in their core business.

As for Coors's management of the brewery, at the time Pete Coors took over, the stock had been mired at $20 for years, returns were low compared to the industry, and other brewers were simply doing better financially. The alternative to focusing on the core business, and laying off some employees was to watch the company slide into bankruptcy. He's no "Chainsaw Al Dunlop." The cuts have been gradual, with generous buyout offers, and have kept the company afloat.

In fact, the company's stock has done quite well, the company has gone from a regional beer to a national brand, it's created a number of other successful lines, and now competes internationally as well. Sales, profits, and returns have all grown substantially, especially in the last few years, even as the country went through a recession.

As for the liberal social policies, I can't say I'm delighted by that, either. But it was a purely pragmatic business decision. Businesses, sad to say, are not socially conservative, and there's no reason to expect them to behave that way.

Regarding TABOR, Peter Blake did some spadework in the Rocky about this several weeks ago.

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