Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jim Koch

Jim Koch, born into a family of brewmasters, does what he loves and in that pursuit has made American beer drinkers happy for over twenty years. Koch started Boston Beer Company in the mid 1980's in the midst of an American craft beer revival. He recalled his great-grandfather's lager recipe to create Sam Adams Lager, the company's initial and famous signature beer. Koch didn't want to settle for making a hobby brew; his goal was to grow the market for higher quality beer beyond the localized microbreweries. After two decades of success, Boston Beer Company produces nearly 1.5 million barrels annually and hosts some 25+ beers (from my count at the website) including seasonal, traditional, and "extreme" varieties.

Koch is somewhat famous because he's been featured in Sam Adams commercials. While the love-for-the-craft theme of those commercials may seem common these days, twenty five years ago the high-end beer market was growing in fits and starts. Koch believed he knew how to improve upon the burgeoning microbrewery movement, which according to him suffered from inconsistencies in quality. He believed that Americans had a demand for better beers, but someone had to get it to them reliably. First he home-brewed his family lager recipe and sold bottles to bartenders in the Boston area. He didn't have enough money or any infrastructure to brew on a large scale, so he managed to convince a Pennsylvania brewery and the man who invented light beer to go along with him for several years. Suffice it to say, Jim Koch and his beer company have been in the vanguard of the craft beer movement ever since.

I'm personally a fan of Sam Adams Octoberfest. Because of his beers as well as his role in the diversification of the American beer market, Jim Koch is today's Hero of Capitalism.

Samuel Adams Beers

Boston Beer Company history
Interview on Craft Beer Radio
Interview with All About Beer Magazine
CNN Profile
Interview on


ann said...

Good Pick Dave! I love Sam Adam's Summer Ale!

Kerry said...