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Who Is Craft Beer's First Billionaire?

Who Is Craft Beer's First Billionaire?

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Jim Koch, of the Boston Beer Company and Samuel Adams, has officially become the richest guy in the craft beer world

It's a victory moment for the guys and gals in the craft beer business who are hoping that their dedication to a great beer will pay off. Jim Koch, the co-founder of the Boston Beer Company (behind the Samuel Adams beer brand), surpassed the billionaire mark when stock prices for the company hit $225 on Monday.

Bloomberg shares that Boston Beer Co.'s growth has only spurred on the whole craft brewery movement's growth in the first half of 2013. While total beer sales, which include the big brewing conglomerates' sales, fell by 2 percent in the first half of 2013, craft beer sales and Boston Beer Co.'s sales grew by 15 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Koch, in an interview with Bloomberg, said he was happy but not bragging about it. "Having watched my stock price go up and down and up, it seems almost whimsical," Koch said to Bloomberg. "I remind people getting rich is life’s great booby prize. Any normal person would much rather be happy than rich."

Boston Beer Co., which first started selling beer in 1985, is now the country's third-largest brewery — to which many grumble that Samuel Adams can no longer be considered a "craft beer." Still, when compared to the sales of Anheuser Busch-InBev and MillerCoors, Boston Beer Co.'s sales are still pretty small. The Huffington Post reports that the brewery was on track to sell 3 million barrels in 2013, which equals roughly 1.2 percent of all beer sales in the country.

America’s Earliest Presidents Loved Beer

There is no evidence that any president brewed beer in the White House until Barack Obama made a White House Honey Brown Ale in 2011. It created quite a buzz in the beer world, and the American Homebrewers Association made him a lifetime member.

Obama isn’t the first U.S. commander in chief to openly express his love of beer. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known as avid homebrewers (and whiskey and winemakers). They made far more beer and spent far more time thinking about beer than Obama could ever spend in today’s world. (Lucky for him, the White House didn’t exist back then, so his place in presidential beer history, and in Washington D.C.’s brewing history, is forever cemented.)

For beer-soaked tributes to our past presidents, one must look not in Washington D.C., but in America’s first capital: Philadelphia. There, a local craft brewer and a historic tavern linked up nearly two decades ago to brew a series of beers called the “Ales of the Revolution.” Using notes and recipes gathered from letters and journals, Yards Brewing Co. and City Tavern recreated the beers of our founding fathers, including General Washington’s Tavern Porter and Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern (Strong) Ale.

Historic City Tavern Makes a Call to Arms

It all started in 1999 at City Tavern, a pub that was, amazingly enough, operating at the time George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all walked these cobblestone streets. Back then, it was simply a tavern of the times, one of many. Today, nearly 250 years later, it’s the last of its kind, and to step through the doors is to travel back to the city’s colonial days. The atmosphere and menu are completely dedicated to the era of the American Revolution.

It also serves the preferred drink of the time: beer. But not just any beer. City Tavern wanted to make sure the beer on tap had historical roots. They did some research into the drinking habits of the founding fathers, including two of the most prominent beer drinkers, former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

“They did enough research to know that Jefferson made a ‘strong beer’ and that Washington talked a lot about porters,” said Yards’ Brewmaster Tom Kehoe. “But before we came along, they were just buying someone else’s beer and calling it ‘Washington’s Porter.'”

In the late 90s, as Americans were beginning to embrace craft beer, Kehoe met with City Tavern about an upgrade. Instead of just renaming beers that were independently made, why not brew beers that stayed true to, or at least paid homage to, the original recipes written down by Washington and Jefferson?

The Recipes Are Revived

In the late 90s, as the world prepared for the Millennium, Yards got busy going back through time to revive the recipes. Thanks to the letter writing traditions of our founding fathers, the Revolutionary period is well-documented, and Kehoe was able to retrieve firsthand accounts of Washington and Jefferson’s affinity for beer. What’s amazing is that these letters and notes don’t just make references to enjoying beer — they often go in-depth and specifically advise how to make it.

Kehoe started the platform for Washington’s Porter with a recipe that Washington wrote down in his notebook in 1757 (the original is at the New York Public Library) about how to make “small beer” (low-quality, low-alcohol) in the field. Take a large Sifter full of Bran Hops to your Taste — Boil these 3 hours. Then strain out 30 Gall. into a Cooler put in 3 Gallons Molasses while the Beer is scalding hot or rather drain the molasses into the Cooler. Strain the Beer on it while boiling hot let this stand til it is little more than Blood warm. Then put in a quart of Yeast if the weather is very cold cover it over with a Blanket. Let it work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask. leave the Bung open til it is almost done working — Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.

In the end, Kahoe made a few tweaks to Washington and Jefferson’s original recipes in order to make them consumer friendly in today’s world. First and foremost, these old-school recipes had to be interpreted for the modern brewing system. For example, what exactly did Washington mean when he said to let the beer stand until it was a “little more than blood warm?” And though Jefferson talked an awful lot about beer making in his letters, he never wrote it all down in one place.

“Jefferson claimed to have no recipe, but if you do enough research it’s clear to see what he was trying to do,” said Kehoe. “He talked about using twice the grain in the beer because it made it stronger and greater flavor. But it was challenging because both had some old-school brewing techniques that were hard to follow. Like [when Jefferson said] to heat the mash up until you could no longer see your reflection in the water.”

These measurements of that era, and the ingredients used along with them, didn’t always directly translate into a “good beer” by today’s standards. Kehoe said the amount of molasses Washington used, often to brew beer out in the battlefield, made sense given the conditions and what was available at the time. However, when he replicated that amount exactly, it created a beer that was over-the-top sugary.

Jefferson’s recipe also had to be scaled back. As a strong beer, it was probably between 11 and 13 percent alcohol, Kehoe said, given the ingredients and methods used. Kehoe decided to bring it down to 8 percent for the sake of drinkability at City Tavern.

Getting to Know Presidents Through Their Beer

Over the course of the last decade and a half, the “Ales of the Revolution” have become a signature line and defining brand for Yards. Even today, more than 15 years after its release, the Thomas Jefferson Strong Beer is its fourth best-selling beer, and both are still on tap at City Tavern. It was such a success that in 2005, Yards released a third beer in the series, Poor Richards Tavern Spruce, in honor of Ben Franklin. All three are widely available and distributed by the brewery.

Kehoe said he learned a lot about our founding fathers through this process, and much of the insight comes from the beers they brewed and how they talked about them.

“One thing I learned was that these [presidents] were all very different people,” said Kehoe. “Thomas Jefferson probably brewed a strong beer because he was into agriculture. He was also a thinker, and so he probably preferred a stronger beer.”

For Kehoe, Washington’s love of porters went beyond the beer itself. Maybe, just maybe, he was parlaying beer into something much bigger.

“Washington had a passion for porters, and he always talked about the porters made here in Philly, about how they were as good if not better than any porter in England,” Kehoe said. “I think he was trying to get people to see that, ‘Hey, we can be good here, we don’t have to keep relying on mother England.'”

Two hundred forty years and 43, soon to be 44, presidents later, looks like good old George was right after all.

The 22 Richest Booze Billionaires In The World

Although it can be tough to get started in the beer, wine or spirits business, success can mean truly transformational wealth, as illustrated by the names on this list. Forbes recently released the 2015 edition of their annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, which we combed through to find the folks who built their fortunes making beer, wine, spirits or in some cases, all of the above. We narrowed the list to people who earned (or inherited) their money primarily through the booze business, which is why you won’t see folks like Bernard Arnault, whose luxury empire LVMH includes Moet Hennessy along with fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and retailers like Sephora.

Meet the 22 richest booze billionaires in the world, including their rank on Forbes’ list:

36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks

#26 Jorge Paulo Lemann – $25 Billon (Brazil)

Jorge Paulo Lemann, the wealthiest person in the world whose fortune derives from the booze business, ranks 26th overall, and first in his native Brazil. Mr. Lemann, who is joined by two other countrymen, made their collective fortunes through their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev, largest brewer in the world.

#87 Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi – $13.2 Billion (Thailand)

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is the owner of Chang, the largest brewer in Thailand. He also produces a popular rum called Sang Som. With vast real estate holdings as well, he’s the second wealthiest person in Thailand.

#89 Marcel Herrmann Telles – $13 Billon (Brazil)

Marcel Herrmann Telles is one of Mr. Lemann’s partners in 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev.

#107 Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken – $11.6 Billion (Netherlands)

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, the richest person in the Netherlands, and one of the world’s wealthiest women, inherited her 25% stake in Heineken from her father.

#110 Carlos Alberto Sicupira – $11.3 Billion (Brazil)

Carlos Alberto Sicupira is one of Mr. Lemann’s partners in 3G Capital, the private equity firm that holds their stakes in Anheuser-Busch InBev.

#125 Pierre Castel – $9.9 Billion (France)

France’s Pierre Castel, along with his family, runs Groupe Castel, a beer, wine and soft-drink maker founded in Bordeaux back in 1949. Looking to the future, they have a strong presence in Africa.

#265 Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala – $5.6 Billion (Mexico)

Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala and her family owned a controlling stake in Grupo Modelo, the massive Mexican brewer that Anheuser-Busch Inbev took off their hands a couple of years ago for $20.1 billion.

#369 Alejandro Santo Domingo – $4.4 Billion (United States)

One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Alejandro Santo Domingo and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.

#369 Andres Santo Domingo – $4.4 Billion (United States)

One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Andres Santo Domingo and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.

#512 Walter Faria – $3.4 Billion (Brazil)

Walter Faria is a Brazilian beer baron. Itaipava, his beer, is the second most popular in his home country of Brazil.

#577 Jean Pierre Cayard – $3.1 Billion (France)

Jean Pierre Cayard inherited a spirits congolmorate from his father. Over the past three decades he’s grown the business, which owns the best-selling Port in the world (Porto Curz), along with popular scotch and vodka brands.

#810 Charles Bronfman – $2.3 Billion (Canada)

Charles Bronfman is the heir of a family that made their name in the booze business, with their firm Seagram. Vivendi took Seagram off their hands back in 2000 for $34 billion.

#847 Tatiana Casiraghi – $2.2 Billion (United States)

31-year-old Tatiana Casiraghi is worth a cool $2.2 billion, a fortune she inherited from her father, as her three relatives did in the swap of Colombian-based Bavaria to SABMiller. She’s also a princess whose husband is said to be second in line to the throne of Monaco.

#847 C. Dean Metropoulos – $2.2 Billion (United States)

C. Dean Metropoulos has made a name for himself turning around ‘nostalgia’ brands. His biggest hit? Pabst Blue Ribbon, which he sold in 2014.

#847 Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III – $2.2 Billion (United States)

One of four heirs to a Colombian brewing fortune, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III and his relatives inherited a 15% stake in SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer.

#1105 Yuri Shefler – $1.8 Billion (Russia)

Shefler’s S.P.I. Group produces nearly 400 brands of alcohol, which are sold all around the world. Stolichnaya is his most popular brand, though he bought it for practically nothing during the wild days of privatization in Russia — which has led to endless lawsuits.

#1105 Richard Yuengling, Jr. – $1.8 Billion (United States)

The Yuengling family’s business is far and away the largest privately owned brewery left in America, and Dick Yuengling as he’s known, is the latest family member to run the firm.

#1324 Benedicta Chamberlain $1.4 Billion (United Kingdom)

Benedicta Chamberlain and her family produce Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Hendrik’s gin among other brands.

#1415 Jim Koch – $1.3 Billion (United States)

Jim Koch started brewing beer back in 1984. He runs Boston Beer Company, the largest craft brewery in America, whose flagship brand is Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

#1638 Carolus Nolet, Sr. – $1.1 Billion (Netherlands)

Carolus Nolet’s family has been producing spirits since the late 17th century. Ten generations later, in 1979, Carolus took over the family firm. Back in 2008 he sold a 50% stake in their Ketel One brand to Diageo for $900 million.

#1741 Ken Grossman – $1 Billion (United States)

Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada back in 1978, when craft brewing was unheard of. Today the West Coast pioneer runs the second-largest craft brewery in America. Unlike Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada is privately owned.

#1741 Nobutada Saji – $1 Billion (Japan)

Nobutada Saji leads Suntory Holdings, which made headlines around the world last year when they snapped up the firm behind Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark for $16 billion.

Craft Beer's Success Makes Sam Adams Founder A Billionaire

Founder and Chairman of the Boston Beer Co. Jim Koch has seen shares of his company rise from $20 in 2009 to a record $227 Monday.

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

These are good times for craft beers — and not just for people who like to drink them, but for those who make them. As an example, look to the brewer of Sam Adams. Boston Beer Co.'s soaring stock price has made its founder, Jim Koch, into a billionaire, Bloomberg News reports.

The stock has risen sharply since July, when Boston Beer reported net revenue of $181.3 million for the second quarter of 2013. Those gains have sent Koch's net worth above $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

"Having watched my stock price go up and down and up, it seems almost whimsical," Koch tells Bloomberg. "I remind people getting rich is life's great booby prize. Any normal person would much rather be happy than rich."

Just before noon ET Monday, the company's stock price (symbol: SAM) was around $227 a share — a record high. As recently as 2009, a share could be had for about $20.

It's a long way from 1995, when Koch famously included coupons in his company's six-packs to let customers take part in its initial public offering simply by mailing in a check. Koch has said that wasn't just a marketing ploy — that he wanted investors who were also fans of the company's products.

And they've been rewarded in recent years, as craft beer has risen in popularity. In the first six months of 2013, sales in the sector rose 15 percent, according to the Brewers Association trade group. Craft beer accounts for about 6.5 percent of the overall market, Bloomberg says.

In 2012, Boston Beer Co. shipped 2.7 million barrels of beer, making it the largest craft brewer in America, according to the Brewers Association, which defines craft brewers as making 6 million barrels of beer or less, and meeting criteria for ownership and production methods.

Compared to all beer makers, Boston Beer ranked fifth behind Yuengling (fourth) and Pabst (third).

"Because this was something started out of passion, I've been able to sustain 30 years of growing the business with all the ups and downs," Koch tells Bloomberg.

Koch began making Samuel Adams Boston Lager in 1984, after a stint in the world of corporate business consulting. It was a return to the family business, according to the Sam Adams website, which traces the beer's recipe to the 1870s.

Koch is a well-known advocate of craft brewing and a strong marketer of his beer. As Bloomberg notes, Koch still visits bars to try to talk them into carrying Sam Adams, just as he did in his start-up days.

As a CNBC article from last year noted, Koch's co-workers at the Boston Consulting Group included future GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, future Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and future hedge fund tycoon John Paulson.

The brewer told CNBC that Paulson invested $13,000 in Sam Adams' first year.

Art and science

Now 61, Grossman is a hands-on CEO, tasting new beers and working with a team of scientists designing and tweaking new recipes.

Innovation aside, Grossman thinks it's his firm's commitment to tradition and high quality that keeps it growing.

"We maintain very much our original roots as far as what we brew and how we brew it," he says. "It has obviously grown over the years, but we still maintain the same principles that we started with. I think the consumers and our peers respect that."

Sierra Nevada is expanding globally, and the brand is already popular in the U.K., Australia and Italy, Grossman says. "The demand is there and we are increasing substantially in that area."

And even after all these years, he hasn't lost his passion for brewing.

"I love the alchemy, the science, the flavors, the creativity," he says. "There's just so much to like about making beer."

11 Sep 2013 by Jasmine Stone in Alcohol, Beer, Money

Related Posts

Craft beer has made it’s first billionaire, and it’s Samuel Adams founder, Jim Koch.

With the sales of Boston Beer doubling in the past year, the company is now the second largest American brewery. What’s even more amazing is that these record sales happened at a time when the total beer sales in America fell 2%. Not bad.

When talking about big breweries Koch said:

I can’t do that as well. I can’t make Coors Light as well as Coors makes it. And their beers are perfectly designed to satisfy 90-something percent of the market. I’ve always known since the day I started that I was making beer for five percent of the market, maybe now it’s up to 10 percent.

Boston Beer has 1,3 percent of the overall U.S. beer market share, just behind Yuengling.

Latest News

7 Signs That the Craft-Beer Craze Has Gone Totally Mainstream


From Hollywood to Costco to your state senator, everyone seems to want to be associated with craft beer lately. Here are a few indications that craft beer can no longer be classified as a niche category with limited appeal to the masses.

There’s a Craft-Beer Billionaire
Amid the soaring popularity of craft beer, hundreds of new breweries launch annually and sales have been rising 15% or so per year. The phenomenon has allowed thousands of entrepreneurs to make decent livings, and it’s made a few craft-beer pioneers extremely rich. Most obviously, Jim Koch, the high-profile founder of the Boston Beer Co. (maker of Samuel Adams), became a billionaire after shares of company hit new highs last week, Bloomberg News reported.

The Boston Beer Co. accounts for 1.3% of all beer sold in the U.S., making it America’s largest craft brewer and the fifth largest brewer overall, according to the Brewers Association. The company’s stock price has increased tenfold since the middle of 2009.

There’s a New Craft-Beer Movie
Described as the “Sideways of the Chicago craft-beer scene,” Drinking Buddies is a new romantic comedy that was recently released in select cities to mostly good reviews. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson star as co-workers at a brewery — Chicago’s Revolution Brewing served as the set for many scenes — who are both in relationships but seem perfect for each other.

And a New Craft-Beer TV Show
Brew Dogs, a show featuring two beer aficionados touring craft-beer hot spots around the U.S., makes its debut on the Esquire Network on Sept. 24. Let’s hope it fares better than Brew Masters, the Discovery Channel show about craft-beer entrepreneurs that was canceled a couple years back amid rumors that Big Beer would pull advertising from the network.

Craft-Brewery Tours Are Hot Political Photo-Ops
It’s been said that people will often vote for the candidate they’d most like to have a beer with. So it’s not a bad idea for politicians to be seen kicking back the occasional beer — especially one that’s made by a local craft brewery that employs (and is enjoyed by) potential voters. Virtually every craft brewer starts as a mom-and-pop operation, so by touring and backing legislation that helps local breweries, politicians can show they support small businesses and entrepreneurship. That’s why in recent months, politicians from New Hampshire, Minnesota, New Jersey and elsewhere have been giving speeches while on tours of breweries in their respective states.

Big Retailers Are Embracing Craft Beer
Walmart wants to be the biggest seller of, well, everything — beer included. To capture consumers’ beer money lately, the world’s largest retailer has been increasingly stocking craft brands like Oregon’s Deschutes in addition to the usual assortment of Keystone, Bud, and Heineken, Bloomberg reported. Whole Foods, meanwhile, has been hosting specials like 25% off craft beer during American Craft Beer Week. And the September 2013 issue of Costco Connection magazine — sent to members of the warehouse club — features a cover story about (yep) craft beer. Inside the magazine, the stories of brewers like Two Brothers Brewing Co. (from Illinois), Copper Kettle (Colorado) and Strike Brewing (California) are told.

And Big Beer Keeps Trying to Co-opt the Craft Appeal
In addition to stealthily manufacturing and marketing faux craft “crafty” brews like Blue Moon and Shock Top, the world’s largest beer companies are continually brewing up new ways to woo drinkers seeking better taste. One of the latest examples, as CNBC noted, is the addition of Cascade hops — used by popular craft brewers like Sierra Nevada — to the recipe for Heineken Light, whose sales are down 10% of late.

Anyone and Everyone, It Seems, Can Start Brewing
With hundreds of new breweries opening annually — and thousands more enthusiasts giving home brewing a shot — some business owners have seen the wisdom not of starting their own brewery operations, but to cater to the would-be brewing entrepreneur. For instance, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiled a company called Missouri Malt Supply, which sells brewing gear, ingredients and supplies and considers itself a “supermarket” for craft-beer makers.

On the other side of the state, reports the Kansas City Star, a new company called the Brew Lab might be thought of as a “build-a-beer workshop,” in which customers can buy brewing equipment and supplies, and also try out ideas and pick the brains of pros at on-site brewing stations.

Early history Edit

The Boston Beer Company was founded in 1984 by James "Jim" Koch and Rhonda Kallman. [4] The initial beer offering was Samuel Adams Boston Lager, a 4.8% abv amber or Vienna lager. [5] Koch, the sixth-generation, first-born son to follow in his family's brewing footsteps, brewed his first batch of the beer in his kitchen, using the original family recipe for Louis Koch Lager. [6] At the time, Koch was working at Boston Consulting Group after receiving BA, MBA and JD degrees from Harvard University. While serving in his role as a manufacturing consultant at BCG, Koch developed a business plan for a locally focused beer company. He invested $100,000 of his own money and raised additional funds from investors, family members, and friends including former classmates and BCG colleagues. [1] [4] The company was organized as a limited liability partnership most early investors did not have active roles in the company. [7] However, one early investor, John B. Wing, held a board seat until 2002. [8]

Koch named his beer after the Boston patriot Samuel Adams, who fought for American independence, and who also had inherited a brewing tradition from his father. [9] In March 1985, Koch introduced the beer as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, over Patriot's Day weekend which honors the first battle of the American Revolution and today is more widely known for the running of the Boston Marathon. Six weeks later, Samuel Adams was voted "Best Beer in America" at the Great American Beer Festival, [1] in which 93 national and regional beers competed. The beer was first put on tap at Doyle's Cafe in Jamaica Plain. [10]

Initially, Koch rented excess capacity and brewed the beer at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, best known for their Iron City brand of beer. As sales increased Koch developed other contract arrangements at various brewing facilities with excess capacity, ranging from Stroh breweries, Portland's original Blitz-Weinhard brewery (shuttered in 1999), Cincinnati's Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery (eventually purchased by the Boston Beer Company in early 1997), and industry giant SABMiller. The Boston Beer Company also has a small R&D brewery located in Boston (Jamaica Plain), Massachusetts, where public tours and beer tastings are offered. The brewery occupies part of the premises of the old Haffenreffer Brewery. [11] [12]

1990s – present Edit

In 1997, Jim Koch returned to his hometown of Cincinnati to purchase the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery, where his father apprenticed in the 1940s. This was also an important step the company took to reduce reliance on contract brewing. [13]

The Boston Beer Company went public, selling shares of Class A Common Stock on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol, "SAM". These shares, however, have no voting rights, while the company is controlled through its Class B Common Stock, of which Koch owns 100% of the shares. [14]

Boston Beer launched Hardcore Cider in 1997, and Twisted Tea brand in 2000. In 2007, the Boston Beer Company purchased the former F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company brewery in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley. [15] [16] The brewery had been owned by Diageo North America, Inc. and used for the production of Smirnoff Ice malt beverages since 2001. [16] By 2012, Samuel Adams was producing two-thirds of all its beer at the Breinigsville facility, and it has increased brewing capacity there. [16] In 2012 Boston Beer Company launched Angry Orchard hard cider company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. [17]

On May 9, 2019, Boston Beer Company acquired Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery for $300 million. [20] As part of the merger, Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione and his wife, Mariah, became the second biggest non-institutional owners of Boston Beer Company. [21]

Following Jim Koch's great-great grandfather's recipe, Samuel Adams continued to use traditional brewing processes, including decoction mash (a four vessel process) and krausening (a secondary fermentation). Boston Lager is also dry hopped using the Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnang Tettnanger hops. [22]

First brewed in 2014, Samuel Adams Rebel IPA is a West Coast style India Pale Ale. The beer is brewed with five American hops - American Cascade, Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, and Amarillo. [23] In early 2015, Samuel Adams released Rebel Rouser, a double India Pale Ale, and Rebel Rider, a session India Pale Ale.

Introduced in 2001, Sam Adams Light was the second light beer the company brewed. There was consideration to name the brew "Turtle Adams" after Sam Adams’ pet turtle. The company previously sold Boston Lightship, which was introduced in 1987. [24]

Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection

These Belgian style beers are left in large wood barrels to age and pick up some of the flavors of the wood. [25] The beers in this collection are American Kriek, New World, Stony Brook Red, Thirteenth Hour and Tetravis. [26]

The company followed this up in 2002 with Utopias at 24% ABV, it was marketed as the strongest commercial beer in the world (a mark that has since been challenged). The company subsequently released new "vintages" of Utopias annually, increasing the alcoholic content to 27% ABV by 2007.

Utopias is made with caramel, Vienna, Moravian and Bavarian smoked malts, and four varieties of noble hops: Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, Tettnanger, Spalter, and Saaz hops. The beer is matured in scotch, cognac and port barrels for the better part of a year. A limited number of bottles are released each year in 2007, only 12,000 bottles were produced, and in 2009, only 9,000 bottles were released. [27] [28] Sold in a ceramic bottle resembling a copper-finished brewing kettle, a single bottle of Utopias cost $100 in 2002, and $150 in 2009.

Because of legal restrictions, Utopias is not offered in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, or West Virginia. [29]

Triple Bock was released in 1994, 1995, and 1997. It has a black, opaque color, no carbonation, and at 17.5% ABV it was the strongest beer brewed at the time it was introduced. [30] Maple syrup was added in the brewing process. Triple Bock was a "forerunner" of later strong beers from Samuel Adams — Millennium (21% ABV released in 1999 only), and Utopias (24–26% ABV first released in 2002).

In addition to year-round offerings, Samuel Adams also has four seasonal offerings. The spring seasonal beers are Cold Snap, a Witbier and Escape Route, a Kölsch. The spring seasonals are sold from January to March. The Summer offerings are available from April through August and include Summer Ale, a wheat ale and Porch Rocker, a radler. The Autumn seasonal beers are available August through October and are Octoberfest, a Marzen and Pumpkin Batch, a saison with pumpkin. The Winter/Holiday seasonal beers are available November through December and are, Winter Lager, a Bock and White Christmas an Ale. [31]

Samuel Adams also offers seasonal variety packs that include a mix of year-round and seasonal offerings. [31] [32]

Samuel Adams began offering ciders in 1995. The company has both year-round and seasonal cider offerings, which since 2012 have been sold under the Angry Orchard brand name. [33]

Beginning in 2001, Boston Beer began to produce Twisted Tea, a 5% abv malt beverage marketed as a "hard iced tea". Its brand portfolio has since grown to include a number of flavored varieties, including a "half and half" variant designed to mimic an Arnold Palmer, and is primarily marketed in the American southeast.

Boston Beer Company launched a line of hard seltzers in 2016 under the brand name Truly Spiked & Sparkling. [34]

Boston Beer operates a number of other sub-brands, including The Traveler Brewing Company (which focuses on shandy variants), Coney Island Brewing Company (purchased from Schmaltz Brewery and brewing a nationally available line of hard sodas in addition to beer exclusive to the New York City market), and also owns the Los Angeles-based Angel City Brewery and the Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami.

In October 2009, the Boston Beer Company announced a two-year project with German brewery Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan to jointly produce a new craft beer named Infinium, to be marketed in both Germany and the U.S. [35] The brewers described the beer, which was sold in corked bottles and had alcohol content of 10.3% abv, as a Champagne-like "crisp pale brew". [36] Approximately 15,000 cases were released in North America in December 2010 at a suggested retail price of $20 per 750 mL bottle, [37] Marketed towards drinkers who would rather toast with beer than Champagne on New Year's Eve, Infinium is described by the brewers as "the first new beer style created under the Reinheitsgebot in over a hundred years". [36] [38]

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Edit

In 2008, Jim Koch created the Brewing the American Dream program. [39] As of 2015, the company has helped more than 4,000 entrepreneurs and together with their lending partner, Accion, made close to 400 loans totaling $400 million. [39]

2008 Hops shortage Edit

In early 2008, amidst a worldwide shortage of hops—a key ingredient in beer—Boston Beer Company agreed to sell 20,000 pounds of its hops, at cost, to craft brewers throughout the United States. The company selected 108 craft brewers to divide the 20,000 pounds they had spare. [40] [41]

Samuel Adams shared their hops again in June 2012. [40]

LongShot American Homebrew Competition Edit

Created in 1996, the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Competition is an annual competition among amateur homebrewers. Homebrewers submit their brew to a series of judging and taste tests with the chance to see their creation in larger-scale production and sold on store shelves as part of a Samuel Adams mixed 6-pack the following year. [42]

Starting in the 2018 season, Boston Beer Company's Samuel Adams became the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, replacing Budweiser. [43] The eight-year deal will last through the 2025 season and include signage and a Sam roof deck. [43] The agreement also allows Boston Beer to use the Red Sox Logo for marketing purposes, run Red Sox related contests with tickets to games. [44]

Since 1990, the company has produced a seasonal fruit beer labeled "Cranberry Lambic". "Lambic" describes a spontaneously fermented beer generally produced in Brussels or the nearby Pajottenland region, [45] and the Samuel Adams product is not spontaneously fermented, consumers and brewers charged that "Cranberry Lambic" was mislabeled [46] and could cause consumer confusion. Michael Jackson, a leading beer critic, called it "a misleading name". [47] Grant Wood, Senior Brewing Manager at Boston Beer, defended the name, saying, "I wouldn't consider it mislabeling. Whenever I have served the Cranberry Lambic, I have always been really up front about it. Is it a true lambic made in that region in Belgium? No. Does it taste like one? Yes. So it's sort of our homage to the style without the pain and agony of it." [46]

From 2000-2002, the company sponsored a radio show on WNEW in New York called "Opie & Anthony". The hosts created a promotion called "Sex for Sam", in which Opie and Anthony encouraged couples to have sex in notable public places in New York City. On August 15, 2002, a Virginia couple was charged with public lewdness after attempting to have sex in a vestibule at St. Patrick's Cathedral this led to the firing of the radio hosts a week later. [48]

In October 2007, in an incident referred to by The Wall Street Journal as "Sam Adams v. Sam Adams", [49] the Boston Beer Company demanded that control of the domain names "" and "" be turned over to the company. [50] The domains had been purchased by an employee of the Portland, Oregon radio station NewsRadio 1190 KEX for the campaign of Portland mayoral candidate, Sam Adams. In a cease-and-desist letter, [50] the company expressed concern that consumers might confuse the mayoral candidate with their beer. In an interview with the Associated Press the company said it was willing to discuss Adams' use of his name on his Web sites, "probably for the length of the time the election is being held". [51]

In April 2008, the Boston Beer Company issued its first product recall because of potential defects found in certain 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) glass bottles manufactured by a third-party supplier which, at the time, supplied about a quarter of the bottles the Boston Beer Company used. [52] The Boston Beer Company stated that they believed fewer than 1% of bottles from the supplier could contain small pieces of glass and issued a recall for the safety of consumers. There were no reports of injuries. [53] News of the recall led to shares of the company temporarily dropping by more than 3%. [54]

On July 4, 2013, a video commercial for Sam Adams beer was rolled out on the July 4th holiday that created controversy over an omitted phrase. The manufacturer decided to leave out "endowed by their creator" in its invocation of the Declaration of Independence which outraged critics. But Sam Adams said they were just following trade association rules. The company said in a statement: "The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, 'Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes.' We agree with that and try to adhere to these guidelines." [55]

In 2018, the company pushed for changes to the definition of "craft brewery" in order to accommodate a continuing shift away from beer-only operations toward other brewed products including ciders. [56]

In 2020, for the first time ever the company removed the popular Old Fezziwig ale from their Winter Classics Variety Pack. [57]


Lush: A Season-by-Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My second book, The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook: 100 Recipes For Sliders, Skewers, Mini Desserts All Made with Beer is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My first cookbook, The Craft Beer Cookbook: 100 Artisan Recipes for Cooking with Craft Beer is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Urban Outfitters.

The books are also sold in countries outside the USA through Amazon, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

I started as a way to marry my love of food and good craft beer. It was my offering, in a way, to the craft beer scene.

One of L.A.'s first craft brews is going away, and you can blame the obsession with hops

Eagle Rock Brewery plans to limit production of Solidarity, its first craft beer.

The award-winning Solidarity, Eagle Rock Brewery’s first craft beer, is about to be relegated to a special seasonal release.

The brewery was the first craft brewery to open in Los Angeles when it started making beer in 2009. And the first beer brewed was Solidarity. Known as the “black mild,” the beer is as unique now as it was back in the dark ages of L.A.’s beer scene. But after more than six years of continuously brewing Solidarity, slow sales have prompted the brewery to limit its production.

Solidarity, based on the traditional English mild style, is a sub-4% alcohol ale filled with complex malt flavors, toasty bitterness and a touch of smoke. But it never caught on with the crowds of drinkers discovering craft beer in L.A., where an obsession with hop-driven brews and ever-increasing alcohol content is the norm. The low-alcohol and malt-forward brew seemed to get lost in the shuffle of rotating IPA handles and all the excitement over the next new brew.

“Sadly, there’s just not a huge demand for it,” said Eagle Rock Brewery founder Jeremy Raub.

The beer earned a reputation for being a “brewer’s beer” — a pint that beer industry workers loved for its unique character and “sessionability” (meaning you can sit down and enjoy two or three pints without getting bored or overly sauced).

In the brewery’s early days, Solidarity was a wedge that won Eagle Rock coveted tap space at local bars (often replacing ubiquitous Guinness taps). Now it is the brewery’s slowest selling beer. The slow sales began to impact the small brewery’s ability to make the beer that was in demand.

“For brewers, homebrewers, beer judges, restaurant people, industry people, [Solidarity] is their go-to, but unfortunately it doesn’t pay the bills like it once did,” Raub said. “Solidarity was taking up [fermentation] tank space and kegs — the resources that some of the other beers that are selling could take up.”

And it’s the hop-driven beers that are selling. Populist, the brewery’s hoppy IPA, now accounts for nearly 50% of the total production for Eagle Rock Brewery.

“Solidarity is just not a very sexy beer,” Raub said. “From the very beginning I thought we’d just brew the beers that we like to drink. Now there’s all these other breweries and these other options. We could keep brewing Solidarity, and people love that beer, but it’s not enough.”

Replacing Solidarity in the production schedule is the new year-round release of the brewery’s hopped-up kolsch-style ale, Ümlaüt, and the spooky seasonal schwarzbier Döömläüt. The latter brew is inspired by Germany’s black lagers, and it’s actually very similar in flavor to Solidarity (with just a bit more hop flavor and bitterness).

On Nov. 14 (the sixth anniversary of the beer’s first commercial brew day), the brewery is throwing a “semi-retirement” party for Solidarity, featuring a tap list filled with all the variations that have been developed over the years. From the standard and creamy nitrogenated versions to Vanilla Solidarity, Solidarity aged in bourbon barrels and even the return of ERB’s second anniversary beer: an imperial version of Solidarity called Deuce.

Raub isn’t sure when Solidarity will make its return after this last batch is sold. “Maybe it will be spring, maybe summer, but it’s coming back.”


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