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Coors Light. Photo by Phil Bouchard

What Yesterday’s Molson Coors News Really Means for Colorado

The Centennial State’s OG beermaker is reacting to market trends, not closing its doors.

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This week’s fall snow storm wasn’t the only thing Coloradans were panicked about on Wednesday morning. Headlines announcing that Molson Coors was closing its Denver office and cutting 500 jobs caused some minor hysteria, and justifiably so—Coors and its Golden brewery is what kickstarted our state’s formidable beer identity. Even if our palates have evolved beyond Coors Light, it’s still an integral part of our hoppy history. It’s the brewery that started it all.

That panic may have been unnecessary, though. First, the iconic brewery, which is the second largest in the world, isn’t closing. In fact, Molson Coors is injecting several hundred million dollars into the Golden facility for improvements.

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“People in Colorado can rest assured that we’re not going anywhere. We’ve been here for 150 years and we’ll be here for another 150 years,” says Matthew Hargarten, a representative for Molson Coors. “It’s so important for people to know that we’re not leaving Colorado.”

The impetus for the modernization of the Golden plant looks to be the shift in consumer tastes for beverages other than beer. (Can you say White Claw?) The modernization will make the brewery nimbler, allowing it to create and pump out new products faster.

“We’ve launched a plethora of new products to try to capture some new, younger consumers,” Hargarten says, citing hard coffee, wine spritzers, and hard cocktails as examples. “It’s an old brewery. We need to modernize it.”

As for the Denver closure, that refers to the 300-person corporate office on California Street. In a cost-saving move, Molson Coors will consolidate its North American business units and corporate center into two locations, in Chicago and Milwaukee. The Chicago headquarters will house the leadership, marketing, and communications teams, while Milwaukee takes on the support functions, like IT, legal, and human resources. All 300 employees in the Denver corporate office will be affected, but Hargarten says it’s too early to tell exactly how many will be asked to move and to where, and he would not speculate on how many Colorado jobs the company plans to eliminate.

The 500 job cuts that made its way into headlines is the maximum number of jobs the company plans to drop, and it includes Molson Coors workers all over the world. The job cuts and brewery refresh come on the heels of a lackluster third quarter earnings report.

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And finally, in a “new year, new them” sort of move, the beer giant will make a name change, from Molson Coors Brewing Company to Molson Coors Beverage Company, beginning in 2020. This rebranding clearly reflects the beer industry trend of diversification. Makes sense, as the hard seltzer category alone is expected to grow 300 percent this year.

So, to re-cap: Yes, Molson Coors is cutting jobs; no, not all of them are in Colorado. Yes, the Denver corporate center is going away, but the Golden brewery isn’t going anywhere. (And it’s getting improvements.) Coloradoans can relax; Coors Light is still earning those mountains on its cans.

Winter in Colorado

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