I have a man crush, and I'm not afraid to tell the world. Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co. and the Samuel Adams brand, is a hero of mine.
Back in 1984, Jim found his great-great-grandfather's recipe in his attic, and began testing it out in his kitchen. On Patriot's Day in 1985, he introduced the world Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and forever changed the history of American beer.
When Jim first started, he didn't have enough money to distribute the beer in kegs or six packs, so he sold and delivered cases of loose bottles to 33 specific bars in Boston. Six weeks after taking Boston Lager public, he won first place at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO. Since then, the company has earned many, many more awards, far too many to list, but you can review their impressive records here.
What's equally as impressive is that Boston Beer Co. has grown so quickly! The climb began in 1985 when they projected sales of 5,000 barrels of beer, and now they ship just under 2 million barrels! Yet still the craft beer industry still only captures a little over 4% of the total domestic beer market, with the major commercial brewers - Anheiser-Busch, Miller, and Molson Coors - produce over 169 million barrels.
What I still can't believe is that so many people drink the major brewers' beers. Though it is true I occasionally drink a Bud or Pabst, I just find these beers incredibly bland and boring. Many craft breweries offer light-ish beers too, which are relatively low in alcohol and very easily drinkable like the Bud Lights, Miller Lights, or Coors Lights of the world (which I believe is the main reason people drink from these companies), but offer more flavor and aren't as watered down as the big beer company's offerings.
I know we've talked about our love for the Samuel Adams brewery, but if you have not been there and either live in the area, or will be visiting Boston, you MUST take a visit to the Jamaica Plain brewery. We've been lucky enough to go on the tour at least five times, including a private tour by Mr. Koch himself. Jim was extremely nice, and you could see how in love he is with beer and his job.
Check out Boston.com for a great article that came out today, where I pulled much of the statistical information.