Work enough graveyard shifts and you’re bound to encounter something spooky.
For Larry Weaver, that was Willy. Weaver, a longtime employee at Molson Coors’ Golden, Colo., facility, worked overnights transferring grain into the brewery from train cars. And Willy, according to legend, was a brewery worker who met an untimely demise when the building’s siloes were constructed in the 1950s.
Willy is one of several ghosts rumored to haunt the Coors brewery, which first started brewing beer 150 years ago.
“I saw him twice over 40 years, 15 years apart,” says Weaver, who retired in 2011. His first encounter was shortly after he started working at Coors in 1971.
“Older folks would tell you about the ghost to try and scare you,” he recalls. “Everyone knew about him in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”
But few actually saw him. Weaver recalls seeing Willy – known for carrying malt away from the grain siloes – while he walked past some windows in the facility.
“I was looking out the window and by the time I walked to the next window, he was gone again,” says Weaver, whose father also worked at Coors. “The same thing happened years later. I was within 70 to 90 feet from him. As far away as he was, in the morning before sunrise, I saw him as well as he’s walking.”
Willy, he says, wore blue jeans and a flannel shirt, and was carrying a bag of malt.
And the other important detail? “He doesn’t have a head,” Weaver says.
Still, Weaver says he wasn’t scared by his ghostly encounter. “I don’t know a lot of people who saw him, but I know it was true. It wasn’t a dream,” he says.
Willy may have haunted the area near the grain siloes, but Rick Paine, whose 41-year career at Molson Coors ended in 2010, also heard tales of a ghost haunting the brewery. But this one was instantly identifiable: the spirit of Adolph Coors, who died in 1929 at the age of 82.
Paine spent many years working the graveyard shift in the brewery’s fermenting department and recalls colleagues telling him they saw a figure that resembled Coors later in his life.
“Several of my folks working in fermentation in cellar 12 saw him walking the corridor in fermenting,” Paine says.
While it stands to reason that the brewery’s founder would want to keep tabs on production even in the afterlife, there’s a twist. Cellar 12 is the oldest of the fermentation buildings and is located next door to “the residence” – Adolph Coors’ home, which was moved to the brewery grounds in the 1960s.
“In Adolph Coors’ time, it would have been where cellar 13 was,” Paine says.
Does the ghost of Adolph Coors really haunt the brewery that bears his name? Does a headless worker walk the brewery grounds, hauling malt for some phantasmic beer? Without definitive evidence, logic says no.
Then again, logic doesn’t always make sense.