1 September 2016 - Best Beer HQ
5 Facts About The Boston Beer Company
More than 2 million barrels of Samuel Adams beer is sold every year in the United States, making it one of the top-selling craft beer brands in the world – but how much do you know about the brewery behind that brand, the Boston Beer Company? Try these fast 5 facts on for size.
1. The Boston Beer Company was born in 1984
The Boston Beer Company was founded by American entrepreneur Jim Koch (still the chairman of the company) and his business partner Rhonda Kallman in, you guessed it, the American city of Boston in 1984.
The company’s first and only offering back then was Samuel Adams Boston Lager, named after the American statesman and founding father of the same name. The recipe was Koch’s great-great-grandfather’s.
2. Sam Adams’ Boston Lager won a big award almost immediately
Just six weeks after its initial introduction, Samuel Adams Boston Lager was crowned “The Best Beer in America” by The Great American Beer Festival’s Consumer Preference Poll. The beer would go on to win the same award four more times over the years.
3. But its founder still had to sell it door-to-door
Business was so difficult back in the very early days of the Boston Beer Company that Jim Koch would literally have to fill a briefcase with bottles of beer and hit the streets, going door-to-door and offering samples of Sam Adams beer.
It must have worked, though, because by the 1990s rolled around had to contract out at various brewing facilities to keep up with demand; including at Pittsburgh Brewing Company, Portland’s old Blitz-Weinhard brewery, and Cincinnati’s Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery (which was eventually purchased by Boston Beer Co. in 1997).
4. It’s okay, because he’s super rich now
Jim Koch bet big on the Boston Beer Company and he won big, too. Fast forward 30 years and it’s a publically-listed company with new revenue exceeding $959 million last year (an increase of 6% from the year before). It employs about 1200 people, with breweries in Boston, Cincinnati, and Pennsylvania, and its beer is now available in all 50 US states and more than 20 foreign countries.
As a result, its founder made Forbes’ billionaires list last year. Not bad at all for a guy who had to borrow money from his friends and family to get the company up and running in the 1980s. Throw a couple of bucks our way, Jim!
5. Is Samuel Adams still considered “craft beer”? Probably not…
While there’s no denying that Jim Koch and his Boston Beer Company has helped to usher in the craft beer movement that we’re continuing to enjoy right now, there is much debate as to whether or not Samuel Adams is technically “craft beer” at all.
Though it remains independent, Boston Beer Company easily dwarves most craft breweries (and probably even the output of the largest beer conglomerates in New Zealand, where the editor of Best Beer HQ lives).
Oh well, so long as it tastes good; that’s all that really matters, right?