G150 Years of Brewery Perfection

"The new modernized G150 facility at the Molson Coors Golden Brewery is being built for the future, with a high level of respect for the past in mind." Suter Media Relations 

Molson Coors hired Colorado-based general contractor Hensel Phelps to build a new modernized facility that will provide the brewery with a state-of-the-art fermenting, aging, filtration and cellaring system that will coincide with the beer giant’s 150-year anniversary. Hensel Phelps partnered with Industrial Constructors/Managers, Inc. (ICM) to complete the extensive amount of steel work due to their 10 years of experience working at Molson Coors. ICM's familiarity with the brewery will be a big advantage as everyone works toward a successful outcome. 

The new building will be 975 feet long, 202 feet wide and 66 feet tall and is part of Molson Coors plan to overhaul and modernize the brewery. A major component of the building will be its roof, which will be engineered to support more than 100 fermentation tanks, which will vary in capacity, but all hold several thousand barrels of beer each. And in case you were wondering, a barrel holds 31 gallons of beer, which equates to a lot of liquid weight. The tanks are stored on the roof for efficiency and safety reasons, and also frees-up interior space for the processing equipment (the floorplate of the building would have doubled to bring the tanks inside). 

Dubbed G150 as a nod to the 150-year anniversary of the launch of the company by Adolph Coors in 1873, the multi-hundred-million-dollar investment into the brewery will completely overhaul the beer-making infrastructure. Another important outcome will be the ability to make significant strides in protecting the environment and contributing to the company’s sustainability plans. This includes reducing the energy and water use by as much as 15 percent each and waste by as much as 35 percent. 

As the general contractor, Hensel Phelps has diligently worked on pre-planning with ICM and the various subcontractors. With the requirement that operations continue as construction is taking place, the team has set exact schedules in regard to the delivery of materials and the work being done. Due to the specialized equipment of the industry, and the unique elevations and penetrations within the facility, the building will be “built to fit the process” rather than “the process fitting the building”. Based on the team’s innate understanding of the industry, everything will flow flawlessly, in an exact sequence. 

ICM’s portion of the project involves fabricating and erecting the structural steel for the new facility, which will begin this summer. An estimated 1,800 tons of steel will be used on the new facility, which is double or triple the tonnage required for a standard steel project. The structure will replace the existing fermenting process that is housed in the adjacent building. This will shorten the production process and modernize how products are produced. It will also help to ensure that products are developed according to the right quality control standards before they’re packaged and distributed to consumers. 

“Given the sheer volume of material, coordinating the sequence of the build will be extremely challenging, particularly since the brewery will need to maintain operations throughout construction,” said Bill Niday, estimator at ICM, in a company news release. 

The new, modernized Molson Coors G150 facility rendering from above - courtesy of Molson Coors/Hensel Phelps.

“Luckily, ICM loves a challenge, so we’re looking forward to working with Hensel Phelps and Molson Coors to determine the right solutions that will enable new construction to happen while not impeding current operations.” 

One of these solutions included addressing the challenges associated with the availability of steel. ICM was able to work with Molson Coors to procure the steel before the start of construction. This step alone will mitigate the risk of a lack of availability or delays in delivery and ensures that the building’s schedule and budget can stay on-track. 

Peter J. Coors, director of the G150 project, noted that the project will set up the Golden Brewery and its 800-plus employees for generations to come: “We’re a Colorado family through and through, and we take a lot of pride in brewing in Golden.” 

Ranked as one of the largest breweries in the world, the upgrades will help to ensure the brewery will be competitive and prosperous, serving tasty beers around the world for the next 150 years. 

For over two centuries Molson Coors has been brewing beverages that unite people to celebrate all life’s moments. From Coors Light, Miller Lite, Molson Canadian, Carling, and Staropramen to Coors Banquet, Blue Moon Belgian White, Blue Moon LightSky, Vizzy, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Creemor Springs, Hop Valley and more, Molson Coors produces many beloved and iconic beer brands. 

The Beginnings of the Brands 

In 1786, English immigrant John Molson founded Canada’s oldest beer brewery on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. He wrote, “My beer has been universally well-liked beyond my most sanguine expectations.” The legacy continues seven generations later with brands like Molson Canadian, which was first brewed in 1959 and remains today one of Canada’s most iconic and best-selling beers. 

Adolph Coors, a penniless brewer’s apprentice, stowed away on a ship from Germany in 1868 and made his way west, coming upon the perfect water of Clear Creek in Golden, Colo., at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. 

He opened a brewery in 1873. A century later, in 1978, Coors Light was born. It is now one of the best-selling beers in the U.S. and enjoyed by beer drinkers in more than 25 countries worldwide. 

Frederick J. Miller began his apprenticeships in brewing as an adolescent. By 1849, he was brewmaster to a German prince. After immigrating to the U.S., he settled in Milwaukee, and in 1855 leased and later purchased the suburban Plank Road Brewery for $2,300. He brought a unique brewer’s yeast from Germany to ferment his beers that gave them unique flavor and character. Its descendant yeast is still used in some of our beers.