The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder That Rocked an American Brewing Dynasty

THE DEATH OF AN HEIR                             PHILIP JETT

In the 1950s and 60s, the Coors dynasty reigned over Golden, Colorado, seemingly invincible. When rumblings about labor unions threatened to destabilize the family's brewery, Adolph Coors, Jr., the septuagenarian president of the company, drew a hard line, refusing to budge. They had worked hard for what they had, and no one had a right to take it from them. What they'd soon realize was that they had more to lose than they could have imagined.

On the morning of Tuesday, February 9, 1960, Adolph "Ad" Coors III, the 44-year-old CEO of the multimillion-dollar Colorado beer empire, stepped into his car and headed for the brewery twelve miles away. At a bridge he stopped to help a man in a yellow Mercury sedan. On the back seat lay handcuffs and leg irons. The glove box held a ransom note ready to be mailed. His coat pocket shielded a loaded pistol.

What happened next set off the largest U.S. manhunt since the Lindbergh kidnapping. State and local authorities, along with the FBI personally spearheaded by its director J. Edgar Hoover, burst into action attempting to locate Ad and his kidnapper. The dragnet spanned a continent. All the while, Ad's grief-stricken wife and children waited, tormented by the unrelenting silence. The Death of an Heir reveals the true story behind the tragic murder of Colorado's favorite son.


This is a story about the abduction of Adolph Coors III on February 9, 1960. After not showing up for work calls were made to his home and to other families only to find out that he had left for work like he always every morning. When they did go looking for his vehicle it was found only two miles from his home. Because of the car and meetings of the brothers with different people in the morning all of the investigations got off to a very slow start. The elder Coors the father also wanted to keep everything hush as well because he may show up, he did not. By the time investigators from local, state and finally the FBI his wife had been answering the same questions numerous times which only made her life each more traumatic. Not only was the wife having problems but so was the children. Every phone call would be taped thinking it would be the kidnappers calling for ransom. What they did not know was that Adolph “AD” was already dead and they would be looking for his killer. The author takes you through the findings, the arrest and then the trial. What really got me though was the destruction of the family. Mary was totally in love with her husband and was slowly falling apart each and every day and then it got worse during and after the trial. The children tried as they did to help her but they had to help themselves as well, and on top of everything else because of the structure of the company Adolph Coors III family ended up with pretty much nothing, from the company or the father. The end of the book has all of the cousins getting into a business together but overall this was a very sad story, more than just the loss of a man it was a loss of a family. The author does a good job of relaying all of the information and for making it an easy book to follow. I received this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

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