Joseph Coors, 85, who used his brewing fortune to support President Ronald Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, died Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of lymphatic cancer.
Mr. Coors, whose grandfather founded Golden, Colo.-based Adolph Coors Co. in 1873, provided money and his famous name to start the Heritage Foundation, the influential Washington think tank. Earlier, he was one of President Reagan's advisers and backers in the "Kitchen Cabinet," which financed President Reagan's political career from the governorship of California to the White House.
Mr. Coors, who had a degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University, refined the brewery's cold-filtered beer manufacturing system, which he created with his brother Bill. The brothers also initiated what is believed to have been the first large-scale recycling program by offering a one-cent return on Coors' aluminum cans in 1959.
Until the 1970s, Coors beer was sold in just 11 Western states. But aggressive competition from industry giants Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing prompted the company to expand. By the early 1990s, Coors was available nationwide. It is the third-largest brewer in the United States.
But the company was the object of sometimes bitter criticism from activists who criticized Mr. Coors' politics and accused the company of a variety of violations of labor and environmental laws and bias against gays and other minorities.
Mr. Coors and his brother worked in the same office, their desks not more than a foot apart. But Bill Coors, appointed as chairman in 1954, said their politics were quite different.
"He was very principled and dedicated. But we got along a lot better if we didn't talk politics," Bill Coors said. "He was conservative as they come. I mean, he was a little bit right of Attila the Hun."
Educated at prestigious Eton College and Sandhurst military academy in southern England, Mr. Ferguson received a commission in the Household Cavalry, where he served for 19 years.
For several years, he captained the Sovereign's Escort, mounted officers who escort Queen Elizabeth II during the Trooping the Color military parade held to mark her birthday.
A well-known figure in polo circles, he lost his job as manager of the elite Guards Polo Club in 1988 after a tabloid published photographs of him entering and leaving a seedy London massage parlor.
In a 1994 memoir, polo-loving public relations executive Lesley Player claimed she had had an affair with Mr. Ferguson, forcing him to quit his role as sponsorship organizer at the exclusive Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.
Mr. Ferguson was let go as the prince's polo manager after 21 years.